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Ten10 Denzil Bell , September 27th, 2018 14:33

Chip's Ten10 cements his role as the Darth Vader of grime, says Denzil Bell

Chip's latest album, Ten10 marks his decade in the game and on it he shows a Jedi's level of skill. There is precedent: just like Anakin Skywalker, when he was very young, Chip was seen as a prodigy. He came out with ‘Who Are You’ and was seen as the "grime scene saviour". He was one of the last grime MCs to come from the pirate radio circuits and Wiley helped to train him to become a more competent MC. Then when he came into the music industry, he turned to the 'dark side' of pop and became Darth Vader. Some would say he turned his back on the grime scene for mainstream success.

But then after coming back from America, he came back to grime with a bang. Like Vader, when the scene most needed him, he came back to reinvigorate it. ‘Pepper Riddim’ was the start of it and his beef with Bugzy Malone helped to reignite the old sleeping spirit again. Darth Vader, the original grime scene saviour, had fulfilled his prophecy and played a big part in the resurgence of grime 2.0. After helping to “save” grime, he has come back with a ten-track project, to showcase his versatility of attacking different genres.

On the introduction ‘Thoughts’, he is pensive – showing his genius for analysing the streets of London. As we get further into the tape, Chip shows that the force is strong with him on ‘Right Now’, where he showcases a masterful flow over an authentically grime beat and he has Frisco (Qui Gon-Jinn) and JME, (Obi-Wan Kenobi) two Jedi masters, to help sharpen his steel.

On ‘I.F.W.U’ Chip uses the sultry production to melodically rap about a woman he is really fucking with. This is comparable to the honeymoon stage of Anakin and Padmé’s relationship, when everything was going swimmingly well. But as with all dramas, their love ends up souring and in turn helps to turn Anakin into Vader. In the same way, the love Chip once had for the game has soured, and has turned him into a villain, assisted with dark lyrics and a menacing flow.

‘Take the Lead’ is the song that most represents his turning to the dark side of pop, and is the album's most mainstream leaning. Fortunately it also offers a new hope in the form of B Young; who gives a stellar vocal performance as the song’s feature. As we get to the latter stage of the album, it starts to lose its pop feel, with the dancehall infused ‘My Girl’; where an old timer strikes back in the shape of reggae stalwart Red Rat.

‘Human’ sees the return of the Jedi with Chip. This song encapsulates the Afro-swing that's running the urban airwaves in 2018. He brings afrobeat and bashment together, featuring African influenced artist Maleek Berry and dancehall star Kranium. ‘Vampire Life’ exhibits Chip's fight between the dark side and the Jedi way, exhibiting a melodic tone on the first part of half until we see his Jedi prowess coming back, with a solid verse of top-class wordplay.

On the final track, ’Good Morning Britain’, the grime scene saviour's prophecy is fulfilled. Chip uses his platform brilliantly, delivering words of wisdom to the urban universe with a conscious rap, where he talks about the violence that has been plaguing London this past year; giving advice to the youth in hope of saving them from death/prison.