Spearheading the campus-wide effort to start Spring Break a week early, the West Campus Program Council is bringing alternative hip-hop luminaries Chiddy Bang to Noyes Gym for a concert that is sure to get people thinking of sun-drenched beaches (or, at the very least, climates less harsh than Ithaca’s).
The group, comprised of emcee Chiddy and D.J./producer Xaphoon Jones, came together at Drexel University in 2008 while they were freshmen. They rose to prominence on the back of their early mixtapes, The Swelly Express and Air Swell, and the MGMT-sampling single “Opposite of Adults.” These releases were notable for their eclectic, indie-leaning sample choices and Chiddy’s deft singsong delivery. UK-based EMI subsidiary Parlophone took notice and is set to release the group’s debut long-player, The Swelly Life, due later this year.
The group is self-consciously alternative, avoiding overdone topics such as clubbing, drugs and hustling in favor of the joyfulness of youth and bouncing back from hard times. Even their videos evoke the vogue visual touchstones of “indie”: “Opposite of Adults” is introduced in the Futura font present in the credits of Wes Anderson movies and “Truth” is filmed in an art school black and white contrasted with illustrated swaths of color. While such a purposefully constructed image can come off as grating, Chiddy Bang gets by due to the exuberance of youth and the joyfulness with which they approach their entire operation. While Chiddy is far from a revelatory wordsmith, he proves himself a capable and charismatic frontman, spitting lines that are clever, albeit rarely quotable.
As far as the production goes, Jones has an ear for slightly out-there sound bites, manipulating songs from artists as diverse as Radiohead, Sufjan Stevens and Passion Pit to fit Chiddy’s playful persona. While they have a similar taste in sonics as Kid Cudi, Chiddy Bang avoid the sort of emo-stoner dirges that kill the pace of Cudi’s full lengths and prove far more energetic (possibly due to a greater demonstration of self-control around the narcotics Cudi so famously abuses). Surely, if their releases thus far are any indication, they will bring a light-hearted, fun-centric show to an excitable crowd.
On tap to show that Cornell’s students can bring the party just as hard as Drexel’s are up-and-coming talents Dylan Owen and Chance Fischer. Owen, a freshman, and Fischer, a senior, may be out-billed at this event, but they surely will have the home-field advantage, playing to a crowd of supportive friends and peers. There is no doubt that these two will show up in top form to show that they can hang with the big guns. Even if this celebration of spring’s arrival will be premature, it will come right on time for the stressed-out Cornellians in attendance.