Chip secures a deserved comeback on his first album in six years, but it’s not without its flaws.
It’s been a while since Chip released a commercial project. Few mixtapes and EPs aside, his career post-Grand Hustle era has mainly been filled with back-and-forths between Tinie Tempah, Bugzy Malone and Yungen. Now putting the controversy aside and ten years on from his breakthrough mixtape it was about time Chip proved that he can still put out a quality album.
Chip has been heavily criticised for taking the pop route during the peak of his career, and seemed to be returning to grime for good. But quite surprisingly Chip doesn’t desert the mainstream appeal entirely. In a similar way to Stormzy’s Gang Signs & Prayer, Chip blends genres together, tapping into the dancehall trend on “Snap Snap” and “Good for You”. The slow R&B track “Hit Me Up” is unconventional to hear from an artist like Chip, making it strange to listen to, but it’s a decent song mainly thanks to the vocals of Ella Mai. These songs are alright, but they could have been better, the best of which is “About Time”.
With that said, it’s the more hard-hitting tracks that end up being my favourites. Grime is what Chip does best, so on tracks like “Gets Like That” and “34 Shots” he naturally showcases great flows and bars accompanied by his aggressive delivery. The grime posse cut “Scene” is another refreshing grime highlight, as it’s been a while we’ve heard a group of grime MCs on one track. It disappoints me that these sort of songs don’t make up the bulk of the tracklist, however Chip knows how to make a commercial album and his experience in that lane is evident.
The most disappointing track of the project is “Honestly” with Dimzy and LD of 67. This let-down was unanimously agreed upon its release. The collab feels forced, providing no chemistry and the song ends before you’re greeted with any sort of saving grace. If the production and verses during Dimzy and LD’s performances were put together and accompanied by a better hook the song could have been rescued.
A noticeable issue on the album is the choice in production. For me there’s not many beats that stand out and elevate the songs. On tracks like “Amazing Minds” and “Honestly”, the production is average and deserve better, even though Giggs and Chip provide solid verses. When Chip reaches the middle ground with hip hop tracks we’re provided with the best beats on the album; the intro and the trap-styled “Settings”.
Even though Chip is solid lyrically from start to finish, it’s the forgettable beats and over-saturation of genres that drag the album down. Despite that these flaws aren’t enough to demote the album down to ‘average’ status. There’s still an array of enjoyable tracks that are both rap-orientated and pop-orientated. 5 or 6 tracks aside, League of My Own II is one of the strongest UK albums of the year.
Rating: 7 / 10
Favourite tracks: “34 Shots”, “Confirmed”, “Settings”, “Scene”, “Gets Like That”, “About Time”