187-188 – New Adventures in Chap Hop

As I said previously, tomorrow marks the start of our annual North American pilgrimage to see the family – and I’m not sure what my online access is going to be like (or how easy it will be to update the blog from my phone). So you may well not see anything for another 3 weeks. Sorry!

To compensate, here are a couple of tunes that should be of interest; both part of the bizarre subculture of chap hop.

Imagine rap but done by posh English fellows who rhyme about tea, crumpets, cricket and 5-piece suits. Sounds completely mental (and, let’s face it, a little bit on the hipster scale) but it’s actually fantastic in a very earnest, steampunky way. From what I can tell, there are two mighty bastions of the genre – Mr B the Gentleman Rhymer and Professor Elemental – and I’ve been listening to both of them for a couple of years now. Both are tremendous fun.

So first up is Elemental; the pit hat-wearing, perma-shorted elder statesman of the two. There are a bunch of tunes you could have here, such as the wonderful ode to my home country, I’m British, and the rap battle tirade (against Mr B. It was a whole thing between them, apparently) Fighting Trousers. But I’m actually going to post the classic Cup of Brown Joy instead. Because if you’re going to showcase the genre properly, what better way than with a song entirely about drinking tea?

(the remix is pretty awesome too)

Which brings us to Mr B the Gentleman Rhymer. A little more gentrified and nuanced than his compatriot, but no less effective, I really, really like his stuff. Go check out the irrepressible Straight Outta Surrey or his medley Chap-Hop History on YouTube, which are both great. But for me, his best is the wonderful Just Like a Chap – a cheeky re-working of Public Enemy’s Harder Then You Think, complete with banjolele licks and sharp pinstripes.

Also well worth checking out is Songs For Acid Edward – a brilliant wee montage medley of reworked dance classic, including Orbital, The Prodigy, The Shamen and Reel 2 Reel. Again, all done on a banjolele and with a mischievous sly grin and a wink. Amazing stuff.

Neither of these are on Spotify though, so here’s They Don’t Let Rappers In The Bullingdon Club instead. You’re welcome.

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