Chiddy Bang 08/12/10

Old Rock House – St. Louis, MO

Written by: Brad Darby (SaucerfulOfSecrets)/Videos By BeezNutz

Thursday August 12, Chiddy Bang came through St. Louis on The Swelly Life Tour, named after their debut album which will be released in a few weeks, and played to a sold out crowd of 375 at Old Rock House. I went into this show not expecting a lot as I hadn’t heard much from Chiddy Bang, but after obtaining free tickets via an Old Rock House Twitter contest, decided to check it out.

Opening the evening was Donnis, who I unfortunately was unable to catch.  I walked in right as 25 year old Donavon Johnson, better known by XV, took the stage. I had never heard of XV, who also goes by Vizzy, but a few songs in and Vizzy had me hooked. XV gets his moniker from the Roman numeral for fifteen, the age he began rapping, and claims Wichita, Kansas as home.  He has released more than twelve mix tapes in the last four years and is set to release his major label debut, The Kid with the Green Backpack, in late 2010-early 2011.

XV played for about an hour and squeezed in quite a few songs including a song called “Awesome” which started with him asking people up front how they were feeling tonight until the fourth or fifth response was ‘awesome’. This was probably one of my favorite songs he did, and not just because he throws a Pink Floyd reference in. He also did “Everlasting Gobstopper”, which samples audio clips from Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory. When he asked the crowd if anyone was a fan of the Pixies, I became rather excited. He then did a song called “Nevermind” that samples “Hey” by the Pixies from their 1989 album Doolittle. The song most people seemed to recognize was “Fall Out The Sky”. This is a song from his highly acclaimed Everybodys Nobody mix tape, released last year.  Vizzy definitely got my attention and I haven’t been able to take his mix tapes out of regular rotation for the last week.

YOUTUBE – XV – Fall Out The Sky

Chiddy Bang was the headliner for the night, and had quite a performance to follow. Chiddy Bang hails from Philadelphia, where it’s always sunny and there is a 73% chance you will have batteries thrown at you, or you are booed for having a spinal cord injury during a NFL game. Chiddy Bang consists of Xaphoon Jones, who plays drums and produces the samples, and Chidera “Chiddy” Anamege, who provides the rhymes. They are a rather unique group, as they are kind of alternative hip-hop. You can get a definite Pharell Williams, Gorillaz vibe from them, and a majority of the crowd seemed to be kids you would see at a local skate park, watching Rob Drydek or shopping at a Pac Sun store.

My favorite song from this set was called “Never”, which is on their debut album The Swelly Life. During the song they brought out XV to help out. He stayed out for one more song before heading off.  At one point during their set they brought out Cheeseburger Don, Chiddy’s little brother who was celebrating his 21st birthday and who Jones described as the “resident bad motherfucker.” They asked the crowd for random topics, which Cheeseburger Don wrote on cue cards. It was then time for Chiddy to freestyle to the topics that Don held up on the cards.  The topics presented were: 21st Birthday, dildo, jean shorts, STL, sharks, taxes, and of course weed.  Chiddy did a fantastic freestyle for about three minutes and hit on each topic, going back to touch on some a second time. There were two songs that the crowd really seemed to dig, one was called “Truth” and featured a sample of “Better Things” by Passion Pit, as well as references to Full House’s resident bad motherfucker, Jesse Katsopolis, as well as Bill Nye the Science Guy. The other was “Opposite of Adults” which samples MGMT’s “Kids”. Chiddy Bang has been selling out shows all over the country for the last few weeks, and there is no doubt as to why.

The energy that Chiddy Bang, as well as XV,  brought to Old Rock House on this August evening was pretty incredible. It was tough to find a time when a majority of the 375 packed in the venue weren’t swaying from side to side or throwing their hands up. I hadn’t been to many hip hop or rap shows, as a matter of fact I’ve only seen Ice Cube, Eminem, and N.E.R.D. before this show, but I definitely left this show with two new artists that I wont soon forget.

XV will be back in St. Louis at The Pageant on October 1st with the Up In The Air tour, featuring Mike Posner. His debut album should be in stores by early 2011 or you can get more info here, including some mix tapes.   Chiddy Bang will be releasing their debut album September 13.
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