If Chip’s pen game was ever under dispute before this album, I think it will be difficult to not have him as one of the top MCs after listening to his latest album ‘Snakes & Ladders’. Throughout the album, Chip doesn’t hold back in letting listener knows exactly what he thinks of some artists within the industry, and although he doesn’t share names it’s not difficult to imagine who he might be speaking about considering the recent exchange of words between Stormzy and Chip.
The suspenseful build for the opening track ‘No Goat’ immediately grabs your attention all the way until Chip’s opening verse, where the momentum of the track is carried by the up-tempo offbeat kicks, snares and piecing bassline. One of the stands out tracks of the album is ‘Allow It’, where the stripped-back production and timely trap kicks drums give Chips lyrics more vigour.
Chip’s ability to seamlessly ride on more dance style genres like Afrobeats and Dancehall with the right cadence stands out for tracks like, ‘See Through’ and ‘Top Shelf’, featuring Kida Kudz and Tiwa Savage respectively. Its a shame clubs aren’t open because ‘Ignite’, featuring grime pioneers Dizzee Rascal and JME would be one to shutdown any club. The pumping horns and aggressive flow from all three artists make the track feel more special and authentic.
Chip’s link up with Bugzy Malone for the garage track, ‘Grown Flex’ came at a surprise considering the beef the pair had years back when they were coming up in the scene but their first collaboration together seemed to work well and gave the track a different dynamic with Bugzy’s deep, husky voice.
With Chip’s debut studio release going back to 2009, Chip perhaps wanted to remind fans of his lyrical pedigree across different tempos, and in a style which is more reflective of him - direct, with no filter. Something he wasn’t able to do as a signed artist, but can easily accomplish as an independent artist, Chip seems to have carried that combative rapping style he displayed in recent collaborative album, ‘Insomnia’, to this album.
Chip’s most convincing album to date, 'Snakes & Ladders' truly reflects gifted artist we saw burst on to the scene in 2009.
Words: Kofi Yeboah-Mensah
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