I was going to name this blog ‘Why Chip is the Leicester City of Grime’ but I thought that would be disrespectful to Chip’s history, ability and legacy. However, judging on the past year, there’s actually a lot of similarities between the two.
I’ve been a fan of Chip’s for years. I remember getting his first mixtape on CD from my cousin in North London and taking it on holiday with me. I was sitting on the beach in 2007 and thinking wow, how can such a young kid be painting such vivid pictures and getting such emotion across in his bars. This was in the era of the CD mixtape where DJs like myself were still playing vinyl, long before YouTube was popping and Instagram and SnapChat were probably just coding ideas. I’ve followed Chip’s musical journey with interest, from the his first mixtapes, to the legendary Westwood freestyle to Chip Diddy Chip, his pop years, the Transition album and his time in the US with T.I. I’ve always been a fan and considered Chip to be one of the best lyricists we have, one of the top MCs alongside Wiley, Kano, Ghetts and Wretch 32.
So why am I comparing Leicester City, a football club from the Midlands, with Chip, a grime artist from North London? Well, This time last year, Leicester City were bottom of the league and looking like they were down and out, surely a must for relegation. At the same time, Chip had just done his Fire In The Booth and was subsequently black balled by the industry and being dissed by a whole host of MCs. After some time out after his stint in the US, Chip came back with a bang and sent for Tinie Tempah, most notably calling him a ‘coon’, responding to a diss by Tinie in a previous Fire In The Booth. After which, the internet, and the industry, went mad.
In the months that followed, Chip seemed to be black balled by the industry. The powers that be in places such as BBC 1xtra didn’t seem to be supporting Chip and subsequently his Believe & Achieve Vol 1 EP was released with very little mainstream support. Chip was effectively the forgotten artist, I would even go as far to say he was ridiculed by social media. At the same time, in the football world, Leicester City were bottom of the league and a certainty for relegation from the Premier League.
These were testing times for both Chip & Leicester City and there were few people that had faith that that they could turn it around.
Then the turnaround happened.
In the months that followed, Leicester City performed an escape act. Under the management of Nigel Pearson, they came from 19 points after 29 games to winning 7 of their last 9 games to finish with 41 points and avoid relegation to the Championship. This was the start of their amazing climb from relegation favourites to genuine title contenders.
At the same time, Chip was preparing to respond to Bugzy Malone, a rapper from Manchester who had been relentlessly dissing him and using his name to propel his career.
Roll onto August 2015 and Leicester City started their Premier League campaign with a bang, winning 3 of their first 5 games. Jamie Vardy, their English striker, was on fire and on the road to scoring in 11 consecutive games, setting a new record in the process. At the same time Chip released the remarkable diss tracks Light Work, RunOut Riddim and Hat-trick, which completely transformed him from the forgotten MC to the new hot artist that everyone wanted to pay attention to. Those three tracks displayed his lyrical prowess, wittiness and efficiency as he delivered punchline after punchline in quick succession to remind the doubters that he was still one of the most talented artists we have in the UK.
Both Leicester City and Chip maintained their strong starts to the 15/16 season. Leicester went on to win 4 of their first 8 games, suffering only one loss, and by the end of September they were 4th in the league.
Meanwhile, after a tweet from myself on a Saturday night in September, it came to light that BBC 1xtra DJ Charlie Sloth had signed Bugzy Malone to his Grimey Limey label. This in itself was not the issue, it was more the fact that Charlie claimed to be impartial to the public when behind the scenes he was putting his resources into promoting Bugzy Malone. The tweet I made stating how Charlie Sloth signing Bugzy made sense given the support for Bugzy and black balling of Chip set the internet alight. The tweet was RT’d hundreds of times and it sparked a response from music fans demanding to know the truth. A week after that, Chip dropped ’96 bars of Revenge’ and the now legendary tracks ‘Dickhead’, ‘Coward’ and ‘Duppy Riddim’. These tracks are now considered as classic moments in UK grime and for me personally are still on heavy rotation on my Deezer play list. Chip ended the year with two strong projects; Believe & Achieve Episode 2 and the Rap Vs Grime mixtape which have both received underground and mainstream support.
Both Leicester City and Chip ended 2015 on top. They both acheived remarkable turnarounds that very few, if not anyone, envisaged. Their stories are an inspiration to many and it just goes to show that no matter what situation you are in and how down you are, hard work, talent and persistence pays off. Leicester City are riding high despite a squad costing a fraction of that of rivals Arsenal and Manchester City. Chip has regained and, somewhat demanded, the respect and support of the industry but more importantly the fans as he continues to grow his Cash Motto brand.
Leicester City and Chip have both had remarkable turnarounds in the last year. Going from being written off to the top of their respective trades.
Both have continued to grow in 2016. Leicester City are 5 points clear at the top of the league thanks to outstanding team performances and individual stars such as Mahrez, Konte and Vardy. Chip has continued to shine through live performances at Eskimo Dance, the Bluku Bye Bye set on Radar Radio and the infamous clash with Yungen.
How will the season end for them both? Who knows but I’m sure if they both continue to play to their strengths and keep focused, they will come out on top!