Whilst we sit back and currently bathe in the thriving UK scene right now, we can also look back over the past decade and at some of the artists and songs that really helped push the scene to what it is today. Today marks Chip’s 29th birthday but also marks over 10 years in the UK scene. Whilst we celebrate his birthday, we also celebrate Chip’s ability to sustain his stance amongst the UK’s elite lyricists and musicians but also keep relevant and adjust himself to the climate.
Below we have listed five tracks from over his career that we feel stand out as the most influential in terms of pushing the music scene but also the tracks that helped push Chip into the artist he is today.
Who Are You (2007)
We start the list by going way back to 2007. Although we originally wanted to keep this list secluded to just this past decade, it was difficult to ignore “Who Are You” that was released in the previous decade. The Grime track that threw a young Chip into the scene’s limelight and birthed some of the best UK lyrics to date.
I am the grime scene saviour, rudolf raver, Chick-King eater, T-High streeter, Gladesmore jumper, Adidas sneaker, Prada wearerChipmunk – Who Are You? (2007)
The UK Grime scene was still relatively young and the UK scene was a far cry from what it has become now. Like you cannot discuss Grime without bringing Wiley and Dizzee into the discussion, you cannot leave “Who Are You” out of a discussion on the UK’s scene’s best tracks but also Chip’s best music.
Champion featuring Chris Brown (2011)
Only four years later on from “Who Are You” and Chip was collaborating with one of the biggest artists of this generation, Chris Brown. The difference between now and then was that artists were still striving to gain record labels attention so radio play and chart success could be achieved. As the scene has moved forward and become stronger, artists have realised that labels are not necessarily needed anymore, being signed is not the be all and end all and independently working sometimes has a bigger affect and impact than a record label would. This growth has meant that the latter years of this decade are a vast contrast to that of the earlier years such as 2010/2011. Subsequently, fans do not tend to look back on this period of the UK scene history with too much fondness. Some of the music created was more Pop fuelled and some could argue, the artists rawness was taken away. Many people of the time believe that Chip had sold himself to this way of making music as numerous tracks of his were charting but were a world away from “Who Are You” for example. What these people are forgetting is that Chip’s inclusion into some of the biggest UK tracks of the early 2010’s, not only boosted his own name but the UK scene as a whole. Some of the tracks on his 2011 album, Transition, featured some of the biggest names in US R&B and Hip-Hop. Trey Songz and Keri Hilson were features on the track list but the biggest of them was Chris Brown. Only recently has the US audiences appreciated and respected the UK scene and back in the earlier years, the scene was hardly respected by those on the other side of the Atlantic. Collaborations with Americans artists were not just few and far between but more of an anomaly. The movements that Chip made somewhat opened those doors for those artists and critics in America to respect what the UK scene had truly going for itself. We listen back and we know that Chip is nowhere near his full potential on “Champion”, the impact it had on his career and the whole scene is the reason it gains a place on this list. The track featured on Chris Brown’s studio album F.A.M.E and went on to be one of blueprints and starting blocks for UK and US collaborations that are far more familiar nowadays.
I’m Fine featuring Stormzy and Shalo (2014)
I remember when this track was dropped. Following from the Pop infused era of the UK scene, this track came during a time that the UK scene was going through its rebirth. The track set the tone for what was to come from, not only Chip but also the UK scene as a whole. Stormzy features as a relatively new artist at the time and it brings a sound infused with Grime/UK Rap that we had rarely heard before. The sound would develop into what we listen to so often now. Whilst we are not saying that Chip was the sole artist to start this, we cannot deny that Chip’s personal resurgence during the rebirth of the UK scene mixed with the likes of Skepta and new artists of the time Stormzy and Section Boyz, helped massively.
Pepper Riddim (2015)
Clashing and rivalries in the UK scene had not been showcased since the fall of Grime in the late 2000’s. In 2015, Chip dropped “Pepper Riddim” which really changed the landscape of clashing and beef in the scene. The follow up did not showcase other artists remixes on the same beat but also caused tensions amongst the likes of Tinie Tempah, Big Narstie, Yungen and Bugzy Malone. Whilst all this beef could be deemed as negative, as long as it does not turn physical then rivalry, clashing and beef is what the UK scene grew off so there was no problem at all. The attention it brought to the scene was second to now.
Right Now featuring JME and Frisco (2017)
“Right Now” came from Chip’s last studio album, Ten10. The album was a true reflection of his career in the scene and an album that brought his career full circle. Ten years on from “Who Are You”, Chip had truly secured himself as one of the biggest artists of the UK scene’s history. No track on the album felt like it had brought Chip’s career full circle than “Right Now”. A track that had an old school Grime influenced beat mixed with the new school UK Rap sound coming through a few years prior, produced by one of the most popular current producers in Sevaqk. Even though both JME and Frisco are still prominent figures in the scene, their features allowed fans to reminisce to the earlier years of the UK scene, in particular, the days of Boy Better Know. “Right Now” allows an infusion of old school and new school which truly epitomises Chip as an artist. Coming through the earlier years and still standing strong amongst the new school is not an easy task and not many have been able to do it…Chip’s true raw talent, work rate, determination and ability to evolve has put him where he is today.
Looking back at the past decade and how the UK scene has developed it is almost like it was meant for an artist like Chip. An artist that literally grew up in the early years of the UK scene, developed into the era that were calling for a label signature and rebirthed into force that still cannot be reckoned with amongst the old school and the new school.
Listen and watch the music video to Chip’s latest track, “Sparko” on GRMDaily below: