Earlier this year, U.K. MC Chip was at the eye of a storm in the grime scene. Scores of MCs got pulled into the debate about the origins of the genre, and who's got the right to claim it, reigniting old feuds along the way. In the furore, Chip faced accusations that his past in mainstream pop in the U.K. means he can't lay claim to grime (an accusation he responded to movingly and passionately on Radar Radio last week).
But musically, he's been rising above all that chaos. His Believe & Achieve EP, released in May, was met with acclaim; he's put out a steady stream of songs and videos at an almost weekly rate ever since, and is already gearing up to release the follow-up Believe & Achieve EPisode 2.
The EP is wall-to-wall with lyrical fire, and is a showcase of Chip's versatility, from the unquestionable party anthem that's the Wiley and Frisco-featuring "My Bruddaz," to the finger-snapping slow jam "Connected." After all, as he puts it: Chip can't run out of bars. If you're not a believer yet, hit play below—where the EP is streaming in full to celebrate Chip's 25th birthday today—and scroll on for The FADER's chat with the man himself.
What's the mission statement behind Believe & Achieve EPisode 2?
CHIP: The mission statement is pretty self explanatory, just gotta believe and achieve. Keep going, even when the odds are against you.
New tracks like "Bookey" sound like you're in a comfortable and happy place with the music you're making today. Is that the mindset you went into this EP with?
I'm glad that you think that track shows where my mind is at. As hard hitting as it is, I wouldn't say there is any one track that could represent my whole mindset, but this record definitely feels true to the energies and what’s going on in my life since growing into a young man. It feels like as I'm getting older you get more aware of your surroundings.
On "96 Bars of Revenge" you criticized the MOBOs for nominating longstanding artists as "newcomers." How can the U.K. media and music industry improve in their representation of grime and British rap?
In regards to that lyric I didn't criticize [the MOBOs] I just said what a lot of people were thinking. I think it will help the world if we don't shun from the truth…I just feel like in a few years' time, more people are going to understand what I've been trying to say.
You've been so prolific this year. If you can choose, which tracks and videos were most meaningful to you to make?
This year I honestly have to say every single song that I have put a visual to has paid a valid part in the messages I've wanted people to take from me this year. The pace some of these songs have been coming out, I honestly haven't been able to digest them all to be able to pick my fave…but I do really love "Coward" right now.
It's your 25th birthday today—compared to most 25 year olds, you've been through so much as an artist and a public persona already. What are the most important lessons you've learned?
- You need a lot less than you think.
- The most important thing to have around you is real love.
- The moments you think are defining, years can go go by and then you look back and feel different; so just fill your heart with love, take time and take each day as it comes. The main lesson is.. you need real love around you!
What are you planning for 2016?
Come on now guys that would be telling ;)