Chiddy Bang is no stranger to Australia. The duo of MC Chidera “Chiddy” Anamege and DJ Noah “Xaphoon Jones” Beresin twice visited last year, as part of Groovin The Moo and Parklife. Now the pair will soon return once again as part of the Nas-curated hip hop event, Movement Festival.
In February last year Chiddy Bang released their debut album Breakfast. The record gave life to catchy singles Ray Charles and Mind Your Manners, featuring Icona Pop, and built upon the popularity garnered from the MGMT-sampled party starter, Opposite Of Adults.
With Breakfast now well digested, the young, energetic Chiddy got on the phone to talk hypothetical Nas samples, party tracks, basketball, Hurricane Sandy, Nigeria and new recipes on the boil for when Chiddy serve up their next meal.
Music Feeds: Chiddy Bang is once again coming to Australia, this time for the Movement Festival. I think that makes 3 visits in 12 months. What keeps you guys coming back?
Chiddy: I mean, it’s really you guys. I think you guys are really accepting of what we do and I think it’s a dope thing. Pretty much our whole mentality is any place that really wants us we’ll go play. If your grandma wants us to come play a show there, we’ll play a show there. If your best friend wants that to happen, we’ll play a show there.
So ultimately Australia has been one of those places that I think has just accepted us. Going down there we [have] gotten over the long flight, at this point, and we just look forward to going there whenever we can.
MF: Movement Festival is headlined and curated by Nas. If you could sample one of his tracks, which song would you choose?
Chiddy: Hmmm, if I sampled one of his tracks I’d probably sample… the song Got Ur Self A Gun [from ’01 album Stillmatic]. It’s an incredible song. I think he was at the time subliminally dissing Jay-Z, this was back during their whole beef. But Got Ur Self A Gun is an incredible song. He flips it crazy, it’s a crazy sample on it and it’s like one of my favourite hip hop beats.
MF: Do you ever worry that the playfulness of Chiddy Bang’s music can outshine the meaning or does the message derive from the energy?
Chiddy: I think when we come up with what we come up with, the message is “don’t take life too seriously”, “don’t take yourself too seriously”, you know, “have a good time and approach things in a fun way”, generally. Everything we do, we like to have fun with it.
So I don’t really that [the playfulness] takes away from the meaning ’cause at the end of the day I’m a young 22-year-old man and I like to have a good time. But there’s definitely a need to figure out ways to show people different sides ’cause truthfully, in a day, it’s not all happy. It’s not all playful 24/7.
You need to balance it but at the end of the day we are young and we are wild and we do have this carpe diem philosophy installed in ourselves.
MF: In the track Does She Love Me? there is the lyric, “She telling me that I’m silly / But I’m only 2-0″. Is the fun vibe of Chiddy Bang’s music a reflection your current lifestyle?
Chiddy: Definitely. It’s definitely about whatever moves us… I think that there’s a lot of dope things happening right now in music. People are exploring, exploring with different sounds and different things. For me I like rap, some of the rap I listen to is crazy. You’d be like, “Yo, that’s the type of rap you like?!” and I’m like, ‘Yeah!’
2 Chainz is on the Movement Festival, he’s one of my favourite rappers at the moment. It’s beautiful. That’s the one good thing about hip hop – there’s so many different styles to it. You really gotta just embrace all the different styles and love it for what it is.
MF: More specifically, do you think your lyrics get overlooked because Chiddy Bang’s music is so upbeat?
Chiddy: I can’t say that ’cause I definitely [feel] like people connect to the lyrics. People definitely have hit me up over the course of our career and be like, “Yo, man, I love this song,” or, “I love this track” and they’ll quote a lyric from it.
So I don’t think the lyrics really get lost but I think it’s definitely about doing what you do and doing what people love you for but it’s also about taking the steps towards trying new [and] different things, as well, in addition to doing what you do.
At the end the day I’m always [going to] rap on samples and I’ll get a Xaph beat and I always get Xaph to flip a sample and chop it up but at same time… Music is so universal, so vast, we could really explore messing with different instruments. We could keep it really organic and fuck with pianos or we could get some guitars and get a little funky with it.
These are just all things that just be in my head, things that I want to go and find a way to incorporate more.
MF: So, in the future, does Chiddy Bang want to move away from samples and focus more on original beats?
Chiddy: Nah, I’d like to keep it 50-50, really. There’s something special about a sample. I mean, it really just comes down to capturing the energy, whichever thing motivates and captures an energy and forces you to be inspired. For me a lot of the time that stuff comes from samples but if there’s original material that motivates me in the same way I’d love to explore that, as well.
At the end of the day, sampling is something that I’m always going to go back to. I’m always going to have that attachment to it because it’s fun, it’s putting things in different context, it’s taking something from one context and flipping it and putting a completely new spin on it and I think that’s dope.
It’s not necessarily favourable for the artist because you’ve got to pay royalties and pay the people you’re ripping off…
MF: Do you have a preconceived idea of what you want to write about or do you wait for Noah’s beats to inform your lyrics?
Chiddy: I wait for the music to inform the story. I really wait for the music to give me the vibe. You can feel if the beat is poppy or whatever, but you can also tell if a beat is more like, “Let me tell a story.”
When I heard Does She Love Me… you listen for clues. Like in the sample of Does She Love Me, in the chop, the sample is basically chopped up saying, “I don’t, I don’t, I don’t.” It’s basically what the vocal is in the beat.
And that led to me to be like, “OK, this is how this beat feels. Let’s talk about life experiences.” “Does she love me?”, that just sort of came into my head, really. “Does the girl that I had interest in want to give me a chance?” And that’s from real life, everyday dealings, but the music directed me.
MF: Throughout Chiddy Bang’s music and videos there’s a running theme of basketball. Where does your fascination with the sport come from?
Chiddy: I really love basketball. It’s my favourite sport and I played in high school and it was a fun experience. It’s definitely one of those sports I’ve loved since I was a kid and I wish I was playing now. I’m one of those kids that if I could’ve went to the NBA straightaway, I would.
MF: Being that you’re from New Jersey how do you feel about the Nets moving to Brooklyn?
Chiddy: Gosh, man. The Nets moving to Brooklyn is just like… I’m kind of like slightly bitter about it because then it’s like, “Damn! Well, what team does New Jersey have now?” Everyone’s like, “Yeah, yo – Brooklyn Nets!” I mean, I see why Jay-Z did that. That was a great look; that was heavy, that was massive. But from a New Jerseyan’s perspective it’s like, “Great, the Nets are moving to Brooklyn. Now what do we have?”
MF: So are you still a Nets fan?
Chiddy: Nah, I’m just off of supporting teams right now. I’m taking a break. I’ve got to deal with the trauma.
MF: Being from New Jersey, how is the recovery effort progressing after Hurricane Sandy?
Chiddy: The recovery is what it is. I know things got really, really, really, really bad in South Jersey towards the water but really where I’m from is Northern New Jersey, so the recovery wasn’t too crazy… I had to stay in a hotel one night but other than that life went on.
But I know that down in the southern area, where you’re by the coast and where you’re by the ocean, things were a little crazy, a little out of hand and thank God I wasn’t down there and everybody I was with was OK.
MF: Did you take anything from Hurricane Sandy that has found its way into your lyrics?
Chiddy: Not really, because it didn’t really move me or effect me. It didn’t have an actual direct effect on my life. But I went to Nigeria this Christmas, my family’s from Nigeria, and some of those things that I’ve since out there are definitely things that will find its way into a lyric for sure.
MF: Chiddy Bang is currently working on new music. What are some of things from Nigeria that might pop up in the new album?
Chiddy: Well, I got this one idea, this one sort of track that’s very rough right now, that chops up this Nigerian artist. I mean, I can’t really go into too much detail, ’cause you would get the idea of the track, but its chopping up a song that is like a well-known song out there, from back in the day; from probably like the ’80s, early ’80s or something.
So I got that in the can and I’m basically going to construct a song on that, and basically going to talk about my experiences in Nigeria and some of the things that I see that’s normal to me but may not be normal to someone who has never actually been there.
MF: Noah has said it’s easy to have a big song when sampling a big song, in reference to Opposites Of Adults, and that is a crutch you wanted to move away from on Breakfast.
Now that the record has been out a little over a year how successful do you think you’ve been in that endeavour?
Chiddy: I think Breakfast, it was a cool success. It wasn’t like a great big crazy remarkable success but it did better than we expected, so, I mean, that’s good. But I definitely think it’s breakfast because it’s the first of many more things to come.
So in sequence it’s like, “This is what the first meal is like.” You just want to go throughout the day and give them the other meals and make them a lot more nutritious.
Chiddy Bang will be in Australia touring with Movement Festival on the following dates.
Friday, 26th April
Hordern Pavilion, Sydney
Saturday, 27th April
Sidney Myer Music Bowl, Melbourne
Sunday, 28th April
Tuesday, 30th April
Red Hill Auditorium, Perth