Let’s face it, rap hasn’t been interesting for a long time. There hasn’t been any fire in the genre since the Biggie-Tupac wars. The East Coast has failed to deliver on its promise and the current leaders in the genre (Jay Z and Kanye West, indisputably the kings of rap) have just released two albums that, whilst interesting, have nothing to say other than “look at me”.
Shame. At its best, rap is vital, political, fun and many other things. It’s clearly time for a revolution in the rap scene, but this won’t come through the machinations of A$AP Rocky or Childish Gambino (or, god forbid, Macklemore). It will come from a couple of chaps in tweed.
Yeah, that seems strange. However, Chap hop is, well, just brilliant. There’s something bizarrely entertaining about watching the sort of person you thought only existed in Enid Blyton’s fever dreams spit forth rhymes that rival in eloquence anything that Nas or Eminem ever produced.
And so, without further ado, I introduce to you the main proponents of the genre, the Biggie and Tupac of Chaps if you will:
Mr B the Gentleman Rhymer is a gent with a love for tweed and waistcoats, a wonderful curly moustache and a banjolele. If you haven’t already been won over, give his appropriation of rap history a listen and see if you’re any more charmed…
Mr B’s real name is Jim Burke, and he works alongside Britpop also-rans, Collapsed Lung. He plays festivals, from Glastonbury to the Fringe, and is known to enjoy a spot of cricket, as evidenced by his parody of N.W.A.’s ‘Straight Outta Compton.
But Mr B isn’t the only game in town. His rival and arch nemesis*, Professor Elemental, is the leader of the darker side to the chap hop movement. Whilst Mr B is likely to spend the afternoon in his club of at Lords, the Professor is probably cooking up a mad experiment with his butler, an orang-utan named Jeffrey. Here’s his diss song, directed at his sunnier opponent.
The Professor, (or Paul Alborough, as boring people tend to call him), is the chap’s chap, a real connoisseur’s delight. His rhymes, whilst perhaps not as catchy as Mr B’s, are far more detailed and tend to revolve around his obsession (nay, addiction) with regards to a certain hot beverage:
… or the culture of his homeland, which he spares no blushes, indicting us for our timidity, racism, and for giving the world a certain someone (no spoilers!):
If you are, as I am, sick of the narcissistic preening of the current cadre of rappers, why not tune in to what these chaps are laying down. You never know, you may enjoy yourself!
*said rivalry was resolved when both agreed that the other is jolly good at what they do, and was laid to rest by an evening with a crate of sherry and some opium.