#ThrowbackThursday: Chip: Transition (Album Review)

There is a buzz in the UK as of late that all incarnations and sub-genres of our rap music is beginning to surpass our American cousins in terms of quality and national buzz, with only international acknowledgement being out of our grasp, for now. One of the reasons that Grime and UK Hip Hop has be able to grow into the phenomenon it is right now, is the acts that, at the turn of the decade fused the 140 bpm rate and reached for mainstream appeal and one of the best to do so, is set for a return to his roots in 2015. 

Chip, who is setting up the release of the double disc “Believe & Achieve” dropped off the Jammer and D Double E assisted “School Of Grime” single just an hour ago and in celebration of his comeback, I’ve decided to write a #ThrowbackThursday review of “Transition.” The album was heavily criticised, upon its initial run but has been since been heralded as ahead of its time, and whilst it is by no means a perfect LP, it deserves its fair share of plaudits. 

Stand out songs from Chip, then known as Chipmunk, on his sophomore album come from the Chris Brown featured “Champion” and the album closer “Pray For Me.” The over-arcing theme of “Transition” is the articulation of an overachieving underdog with a me against the world attitude, and it makes for a motivational monument of music for an up-and-coming blogger who plans to be at a place in journalism perpendicular to Chip’s status in UK Hip Hop back in 2010 and 2011. 

On the other side, the album is as bad at its worst, as it is good at it’s best and it throws into question whether critics were wrong three years ago. The production of bangers like “Foul” and “Every Gyal” allow for some slide in the lyrical standard showcased, but they still sound like major let downs in juxtaposition with the aforementioned album highlights. It’s the “Flying High” single that leaves a sour taste in the mouth, three years later as regardless of it’s radio appeal, it’s a car crash of a record that fails to rhyme bars more often than not, and the wordplay is so basic that I almost can’t believe it came from the same man that is put on such a high pedestal now in 2015.  

Overall, from the thirteen songs, there is more good than bad, and at times Chip was rapping with her heart on his sleeve and delivered some gems. His cocky deliverance is incomparable, and when he comes with his lyrical A game, there isn’t an emcee in the world that can contribute verses with as much versatility as Chip. Should he find a balance consistent with 2013 teaser “Holy Water“, or the renegade-esque remix of Wiley’s “Flying” or even the “My Crew” stand out from his last release – I’ll be first in line for the “Believe & Achieve” project(s). It’s bound to be better than “Transition”, despite it being an enjoyable effort in it’s own right, I’m just hoping he has learned from the minor mistakes made during his career so far, so that he can attain the success he so rightfully deserves in 2015. 

Listen to “School Of Grime”, from the upcoming installment to Chip’s catalogue, below:

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