In Defense of Chipmunk

By on Monday, 26th October 2009 at 6:00 am

I know as I’m writing this that when I hit ‘Publish’ I’ll lose much credibility in the eyes of many grime fans, but I’m not too bothered, some things need to be said. At the end of last year I tipped Chimpunk for big things in 2009. Obviously I hadn’t forecast the number one single and number two album, looking back it’s hard to believe that in the ten months or since I wrote that blog Chipmunk has gone from A Level student to chart topper. However success comes at a price, in this case a large chunk of his original fanbase and of course his grime rep – pop pleasers ‘Diamond Rings’ and ‘Oopsy Daisey’ were met with a vicious backlash from the grime community increasingly frustrated at artists dumping the style in favour of commercial approval (Tinchy Stryder, Dizzee etc.) However even in these circumstances the response was still brutal, despite their mainstream gains the masses still respect Dizzee and Tinchy and they’re viewed as champions of grime as opposed to ‘sell-outs.’

Why then all the hate on Chipmuck?! Of course ‘Oopsy Daisey’ when juxtaposed with ‘Whatever The Weather 1’ or ‘Fresh Out The Oven’ makes you cringe a little, but the REAL reason lies deeper beneath the surface. The truth is that the grime community grew to love Chipmunk. Sure there were always the cynics but if the question of best younger had been posed on the eve of ‘Guess Who?’ dropping most would have stood by the munk. Expectations were set high and so when ‘I Am Chipmunk’ finally arrived as a hip-pop package the same artist who once declared himself the “grime scene saviour” was disowned by the scene.

In my very irrelevant opinion the backlash is a step too far, the point is that Chipmunk earned his stripes before graduating to the mainstream (like Dizzee and Tinchy and Kano and Wiley) and so the hate is unwarranted. Chipmunk’s proved mixtape after mixtape that he can do grime, he’s no Master Shortie or N-Dubz who who entered the mainstream without having to prove themselevs first. I would have loved to hear a grime album but the point is if he’d have released one it would’ve fallen on deaf ears (look at Kano’s fall in popularity between albums!!) His success is encouraging labels to pick up more grime artists and slowly but surely the barriers will be broken and grime will finally be let into the mainstream, this is merely laying the foundations. Chipmunk’s success is proof that kids off estates can make it in the UK and whilst the scene may have turned against him it seems he’ll continue to work for it, saviour indeed.

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