Chip is one of the more influential artists in my path to become a fan of grime, and UK music as a whole. Many discredit his run in 2010 because of the more mainstream appeal as opposed to the traditional grime they were used to. If it wasn’t for the I Am Chipmunk album, I may have never been introduced to the likes of Ghetts and others who joined Chip on his tour at that time.
Since his entrance into grime as a teenager, Chip has been a mainstay at the front of the cultures conversations. From the initial breakthrough to the chart success and signing with Grand Hustle in America to clashing with multiple MCs circa 2015, the North London MC has had a rollercoaster career.
I often hear American hip-hop commentators remark how Fabolous has remained relevant by switching his style up to fit the current generation as each takes over. Comparisons can be made to Chip, and as many are currently commending the spitter for his versatility on the timeline.
There’s a competitive spirit in Tottenham talents heart that goes beyond clashing, but wanting to prove he is the best in different sub-genres of music too. In fact, Chip might have said this much himself at some point.
Pre-2010, Chip had proved he could do grime as good as anyone else. The 2010 era Chipmunk conquered the UK charts so took a stab at success in the States. In 2015, it seemed grime fans forgot Chip could really murk so he went back-and-forth with Bugzy Malone with extra shots thrown at Tinie Tempah, Yungen and more. Now nobody was questioning the potency of his pen in war, Chip is back to showcasing what he can do in music as the sound of urban songs in the UK has evolved.
In his latest release Ten10, Chip collaborated with Not3s for the instant-hit CRB Check. The tropical vibes very much in the vein of popular hits from fellow Brits making the ‘and surrounding sounds’ we now attach on the end of ‘hip-hop and grime.’ Similarly, Ten10 also features contemporary pop-tinged bangers like I.F.W.U, Take The Lead and My Girl.
There’s something of a cat-fish quality to the album though. The big singles might be the bangers but Chip brings educational bars elsewhere on Ten10 tackling issues around mental health, class and gang culture especially in the albums stand-out bookends with opener Thoughts and closer Good Morning Britain.
Its no secret Chip has achieved more than most musicians his age across different facets and as such he’s able to shell out gems for the listeners, and his fellow artists. While he allows himself to have fun on the some of the tracks mentioned earlier, Ten10 feels like a potential Özil-like assist to make his own 4:44.
Grime and its artists aren’t really old enough to have spawned any real mature albums from its big-hitters. Ghetts showed its possible with the Black Rose lead Ghetto Gospel: New Testament and there are more examples, but its arguable Chip has way more of a story to tell that others not too much younger than himself could benefit from.
The charting hits are cool, and I’d still not turn down an album full with the Jme & Frisco assisted Right Now style cuts but if I could A&R Chip’s next challenge to cement his legacy even more – I’d ask him to create a cohesive tape full of introspection and maturity.
On Thoughts, Chip raps “What’s more important the music or how it comes out?” In this case, its a bit of both. Ten10 feels like less of an album and more of a playlist. Its not a cohesive project which flows from front-to-back, but almost every track is a solid 8-9/10. You can put the ten-track release on shuffle and enjoy it equally. Ten10 is perfect for this era of music.