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Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Philly’s Chiddy Bang: From Mix Tapes To Freestyle World Record

Chidera “Chiddy” Anamege (left) and Noah “Xaphoon Jones” of Chiddy Bang. (Courtesy Chiddy Bang)

The members of Chiddy Bang are definitely among the most entertaining guests we’ve had on the show.

When we opened the connection from our studio to theirs to start the interview, they were already riffing rap songs and joking about music. That’s how the interview started, and how it continued pretty much the whole time.

Chiddy Bang is Chidera “Chiddy” Anamege and Noah “Xaphoon Jones” Beresin, two guys who met when they were students at Drexel University in Philadelphia. They started sampling everything from Radiohead to Tom Waits, and in 2010 had a flash of Internet fame when they sampled the song “Kids” by the indie group MGMT.

“Basically when we formed in 2008, we were children of that middle era of Kanye West where he takes from French electro and from all kinds of genres so we just wanted to continue that,” Beresin told Here & Now‘s Robin Young.

Not For Young Ears

Now they’re out with their new album “Breakfast,” which has seen mixed reviews. But it’s hard to hear without both tapping a foot, and rushing to cover the ears of any child nearby — barely a minute passes without an expletive.

“There’s people that are way way more explicit,” Anamege said. “I don’t think I have a foul mouth, but at the end of the day you don’t know what to expect when I go into the [recording] booth late at night.”

Rapping For 9+ Hours

Chidera “Chiddy” Anamege raps at the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, NY. (Ryan Kemper)

One of the group’s more unique claims to fame came in 2011, when Anamege broke the world record for longest freestyle: He did not stop rapping for 9 hours, 18 minutes and 22 seconds.

“I had fans Tweeting topics to me, so it was constant things to draw from,” Anamege said. “We just got it done. I was exhausted though.”

Nigerian Background

Anamege’s parents are from Nigeria, and he has visited a number of times. He says the country influences his music and his life here.

“Every time I go back there I always come back with a renewed sense of motivation and dedication because they’re living on nothing out there, but I find generally that they’re more happy with their lives than people over here, and we have everything,” Anamege said.

Beresin said that the Nigeria connection relates to why a lot of their music isn’t focused on the inner city. Addressing Anamege, he said, “I would imagine Chid, it’s hard for you to write about how tough life is in the cities in America when you go back every year and you see it in Nigeria first hand.”

Anamege agreed. “That’s something that I would want to touch on more. Forget talking about what’s going on over here, talk about what’s going on over there,” he said.

Guests:

  • Chidera “Chiddy” Anamege
  • Noah “Xaphoon Jones” Beresin

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Robin Young and Jeremy Hobson host Here & Now, a live two-hour production of NPR and WBUR Boston.

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