Aaron Matthews is so tasteful that he refrained from making a single Frito-Lays reference.
Quick history lesson: C.H.I.P.$ used to go by Chips D’nero as 1/3rd of Danny Brown’s old group Reservoir Dogs. Coming off a scene-stealing verse on The Hybrid’s “Detroit 187”, his new tape Couch Potato should rightly serve as the D-Town emcee’s coming out party. C.H.I.P.$ shares his mentor’s gift for salacious, violent wordplay and choosing filthy off kilter beats.
You can hear the blunt-scorched wit of the Outsidaz as a subtle influence in C.H.I.P.$’s bars — the delicate balance between violent threats and odd stoner humour. His thick Michigan accent sharply over enunciates each syllable, and he rhymes couplets like “I’m superior to alpha mega/white hoes sucking my toes like Malcolm Little” with ease. He might have the most underrated adlib of 2011; making Reptar noises over each of his verses. Genius.
The best songs on here mix gutter but strange production with C.H.I.P.$’s witty threats: the beat to “Ponzi Scheme” sounds like El-P on E. Conveyor belt drums clash with rushing Tangerine Dream synths as C.H.I.P.$ kicks Dolemite-worthy shit talk.
While not quite as versatile a writer as his mentor, C.H.I.P.$ is quite capable of stretching out his topical focus. On “Upstanding Community”, C.H.I.P.$ flips “I’m in the hood” clichés to brag tongue-in-cheek about his suburban home’s neighbourhood watch and friendly middle-aged neighbours: “This feeling safe shit is kinda new to me/but it comes with a law-abiding, tax-paying community”.
On “Manoogian Memoirs”, C.H.I.P.$ hilariously assumes the POV of indicted Detroit mayor Kwame Kilpatrick, cruising in an Escalade and getting neck from his assistant. His distinctive rhyming style sticks out whether listing his weight in the crime world on “Criminal Enterprise” alongside newcomer Boldy James, or boasting with fellow Bruiser Brigadier Dopehead on “TurdInABucket”. The Danny Brown team-ups on “Fishy Fry” and “Horny Zebra” are fantastic but C.H.I.P.$ more than holds down the tape dolo. Cats who love the menacing wit of the Outsidaz, Redman and Trick Trick will find much to love on Couch Potato. If you’re craving that raw, it’s right here.