As you've probably read, this summer's crop of tours isn't doing so hot. Not at all. But if you want to get out and catch something truly fresh, I suggest electro hip-hop duo Chiddy Bang (named after Nigerian rapper Chidera "Chiddy" Anamege and his producer, Noah "Xaphoon Jones" Beresin), who kick off their The Swelly Life Tour in Pittburgh on August 4.
Don't feel like waiting to see what the Drexel University classmates, who Kanye West blogged about and drew Pete Wentz to a recent show, are all about? Well, then stop over here as I caught up with them via phone just last week to find out what makes them tick.
UsMagazine.com: I know you guys went to school together at Drexel, but how did you come to be a duo?
Chidera Anamege: When we were at Drexel, I was a business major and Noah was a music industry major. The music industry program at Drexel allows kids to have studio access, and that's really important, especially when you're a kid that's trying to rap, you naturally want to get into the studio at any opportunity that you can get. We had a mutual friend that just plugged us together and connected us, and we just started sneaking into the Drexel studio and remixing all types of crazy stuff from Tom Waits, to Weezer, to Radiohead. We just chopped up so many different things, and I just rapped on whatever I thought was dope!
Us: What about being in school at Drexel or being in West Philly influenced your music?
CA: A lot of what I rap about is autobiographical; it's always sort of a portrait of what's going on in our lives. The Philly experience was a great experience for me -- I went to school there for a year. I was born and raised in New Jersey, and so that sort of upbringing [shows] a grittier aspect to me, but then when I went to Philly and started working with Noah, I started being opened up to new kinds of music. He introduced me to MGMT and Passion Pit, all these different sounds that I would normally not even listen to. Growing up where I grew up, I was just listening to straight up urban hip-hop or whatever was on the radio. The album that we have worked on that's coming out at the end of the summer is the pros and cons of making it where we've made it at such a quick pace. We've dreamed about doing this, and it's what we've been waiting for, but the other side to [fame] is the fact that now we're always on the road and don't get to spend that much time with our friends and family. You really have to make sacrifices in order to pursue a dream.
Us: I know that you're from Nigeria, and you've said in past interviews that you like to stay in the know of what's going on over there. Do you use this knowledge to shed light on current issues in your raps?
CA: For sure. One of the earlier songs we recorded, "Sooner or Later," touches on some of those issues. I definitely try to shed light on real issues when the time calls for it. I've been to Nigeria once a year for the past five years, so I've observed some things, like how there's not 24-hour electricity over there and how families live on $300 a month. We actually did a video for it when I was in Nigeria from December to January. I shot footage of my tribals on a flip cam and brought back a whole bunch of raw footage of me going throughout the country, and our great in-house director guy edited it.
Us: How did you know which one of you would have the right sound to be the voice of your beats?
Noah Beresin: I've worked with a lot of rappers; I was a producer all throughout high school, too. What really struck me as the most difficult part to get across in our raps was the delivery. I've worked with tons and tons of rappers, but there are very few that can really deliver it so well. You can have amazing rhymes, but if you don't say it well, you're not going to be anywhere. Chiddy just cuts right through the track and you can really hear what he's saying. From a hip-hop and rap, and kind of pop perspective, that's really important that you do that.
Us: Who are some other artists you would like to work with?
NB: In the future, I'm probably going to work with Wale and I'd love to work with the greats -- Kanye and Jay Z.