March 19, 2012

Jimmy Ness misses Missy.

Download:The Best of Chip Tha Ripper (Compiled by Jimmy Ness)

Cleveland’s coldest is too often dismissed as Kid Cudi’s lesser sidekick. And undoubtedly, Chip’s affiliation with the melodramatic Mescudi has expanded his fan base, sometimes at the expense of his own credibility. A shame, because he’s also a versatile and likable rapper worthy of individual praise.

Charles Worth claimed to decline an offer to appear on this year’s underwhelming XXL Freshman cover. Nor could one blame him. The 25 year-old was part of the underground circuit before Cudi became a hipster hit and comparing him to the likes of this, proves he’s disrespected.

On his first few mixtapes Chip rapped with an unremarkable Southern style, which sounded sleepier than a sedated Z-Ro. His early work suffered from the traditional pitfalls: bloated posse cuts, unoriginality, weak hooks etc. But like most early projects, talent was there in the rough and he took a evolutionary leap after his 2006 project Can’t Stop Me.

Pictured From Left-to-Right: Chip the Ripper, Nicki Minaj, Kid Cudi, DJ Khaled

Chip showcased his impressive flow and unique style on 2009’s The Cleveland Show, but his real magnum opus came two years later. Gift Raps has thirteen solid tracks without a single false move. The coldest sounded better than anyone over Chuck Inglish’s inspired beats and had enough charisma to carry the project without guest features. From smooth double-time rhyming on intro “The Entrance” to boom-bap raps on the triumphant “Light One Up”, it’s still one of the most cohesive and replayable albums in recent memory.

The ménage a trios fantasy portrayed in “Plural” was another standout thanks to unique production from Blended Babies and a hypnotic chorus, which threatens to stay in the listener’s brain forever.

“Two going at once, I like my girls like I like my blunts (simultaneous). And that’s two going at once.”

Yes, Chip isn’t covering deep subject matter or rhyming the elements on the periodic table. But rappers often forget that music is meant to be enjoyable. Charles doesn’t over-extend himself and covers well-trodden topics with a new perspective and vocabulary. He switches from comparing Cleveland and Jumanji to warning listeners not to eat high fructose corn syrup, all with the same light-hearted tone. Teenage skateboarders and trap-stars reuse each others lines while Chip spits under-utilized slang. Who else still says fresh or talks about handing out money instead of making it rain?

“Forever I’ll be F R E $ H, chillin’ up in I-Hop with that country fried steak, super smooth Kenny G and these raps be the sack, shined up in the wax, bet them panties gon’ collapse.”

This year’s project Tell Ya Friends had a little too much filler and not enough Chuck Inglish, but The Ripper’s slashing still shows up on tracks like the audio smoker’s session “Soothing” or the Lex Luger produced “Out Here”. The latter sounds surprisingly unlike “Blowing Money Fast” version ten and you can hear the beat maker was also inspired by the glorious Gift Raps production.

If Chip‘s strong points aren‘t enough to convince you, there are always the local Cleveland wizrds and Machine Gun rappers.

Tracklist:

1: Good Evening produced by Chip Tha Ripper and Big Duke
2: Aint No Love Here produced by Million $ Mano
3: Passin Out Money produced by Dez
4: Light One Up produced by Chip Tha Ripper, Big Duke and Julio
5: I Told You produced by Blended Babies
6: Be A Model (ft. Cmack) produced by Rami
7: 25 Wives (ft. Wale) produced by Boi 1 Da
8: Plural produced by Blended Babies
9: Babyman produced by JP
10: Waddup Bum produced by ABC Beats
11: Couple Dollas produced by Rami
12: Don’t Come Into My Hood (Bone Thugs Cover)

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