"Breakfast is the first, most important meal of the day," Chiddy Bang MC Chidera "Chiddy" Anamege says. "We named our new album Breakfast because this is our first proper album, and the most important moment so far in our careers. Plus a lot of significant things seem to happen for us while we're eating breakfast foods"
Technically, Breakfast may be the first full-length disc from Chiddy, a Nigerian who grew up in Newark, NJ, and producer Noah "Xaphoon Jones" Beresin, but it isn't the first time the world has been introduced to Chiddy Bang. After the duo met freshman year at Drexel University in Philadelphia, Chiddy and Xaphoon began creating and self-releasing music via the Internet, attracting fans with their deft combination of hip-hop, electronic and indie rock styles. Chiddy Bang released their first mixtape, The Swelly Express, in 2009, generating buzz with a catchy track called "Opposite of Adults," which samples MGMT's "Kids."
Since then, the pair has dropped two more mixtapes, 2010's Air Swell and last year's Peanut Butter and Swelly, both of which were greeted with acclaim and anticipation for the eventual album that would succeed them. Breakfast, recorded over the course of a year in New York, Los Angeles, London and Philly, represents that next step for the group, a legitimizing offering that showcases the duo's full range and skill.
"This album is like Chiddy Bang 3.0," Chiddy notes. "It's what happens when we have access to large studios with real instruments. It's what happens when we can have orchestras and synths and string sections. It's all the stuff we never really had. And it's me rapping off what the music inspires me to say."
"We have spent the past two years going from performances in frat house rec rooms to the mainstage of festivals like Glastonbury and Bamboozle," Xaphoon adds. "We have spent a lot of time honing our sound and creating the best beats and rhymes. To be able to release a proper album for our fans is the greatest feeling."
Breakfast was written the same way Chiddy Bang has always conceived their songs--digitally. Samples have always been an instrumental part of how Xaphoon constructs the music and beats, an aspect of the band that lends itself to the exploration of different genres and ideas. So while the Internet has been notably important in how the group releases music, it's also key in how it's created.
"Noah makes the beats, emails them to me, I write a rap on my computer, we go into the studio," Chiddy explains. "The Internet has always been a huge part of how we get the music out there but also how we actually make the music. It's part of the process. I write 90 percent of my raps on Gmail, because it has that auto-save feature. The Internet is crucial. It has so much to do with how we make the music."
The album, which collects songs that the duo has written since signing with EMI in 2010, was produced by Xaphoon as well as several guest collaborators, including Grammy nominee Sam Hollander -Train, Cobra Starship and Kelly Rowland- and John Hill -M.I.A., Shakira-. As for the guest appearances? Chiddy Bang was more interested in having fun making the music than trying to snag famous rappers to cameo on the disc.
"It's an album that was made not with big features in mind, not trying to get who's hot right now," Chiddy says. "It's real music that you can feel. Everybody that's on the album is our friend. They don't have to be famous or anything. Great people that we feel are musically solid and we can vibe with in the studio. The album is a result of those vibe sessions."
"Ray Charles," the lead single off Breakfast, follows two other previously released tracks, "Mind Your Manners" and "Baby Roulette," which was featured on last year's mixtape and includes an appearance by Train's Pat Monahan. The album is notably diverse, culling a vast array of musical influences into a cohesive, energized collection of songs that truly reveals Chiddy Bang's evolution as a group. The upbeat party anthem "Handclaps and Guitar," which Chiddy feels best represents him on the disc, leans toward the more propulsive side of the spectrum while "Talking to Myself," a slower track featuring U.K. singer Sam Frank, "shows how we stepped it up a notch in terms of the sound."
The release Breakfast is a significant moment in Chiddy Bang's career, but it's by no means the group's sole accomplishment. The duo's hit single, "Opposite of Adults," was certified gold last August, selling almost one million units worldwide, and its video, which won Best Video Woodie Award at the MTV Woodies, has over 16 million views on YouTube. Chiddy Bang's tracks have been featured in commercials for Taco Bell and Jeep as well as numerous video games, including "Madden 12, "Need For Speed" and "Fight Night." They've also toured extensively, performing at festivals around the world including Glastonbury, Bonnaroo, The Bamboozle, Lollapalooza and Austin City Limits.
Chiddy also broke two Guinness World Records last year. At MTV's inaugural Online Music Awards, Chiddy set the Guinness World Records title for the Longest Freestyle Rap while also simultaneously breaking the Longest Marathon Rapping record, clocking in at 9 hours, 18 minutes and 22 seconds with Xaphoon cheering him on from the turntables. In the end, it's that pairing of the two artists that makes Chiddy Bang such an innovative and successful hip-hop act. The influx of stylistic variety has allowed the duo to alter the landscape of what is possible in rap music today.
"When you talk of Chiddy Bang you talk of what I bring to the table, I'm the hip-hop dude that comes in who grew up listening to The Fugees and Jay-Z and Kanye West, and mix it up with Noah, who listens to whole bunch of other shit," Chiddy says. "He's very aware of all music and other styles outside hip-hop. When we did that sample MGMT it was before anyone knew who MGMT was, but Noah was on it. That's Chiddy Bang. It's bringing new things together."