Posts Tagged ‘bad reviews

31
Jul
10

‘Beast’ by ‘Chipmunk’

In rap there is often a cachet associated with illegal activity, and in his debut single entitled ‘Beast’, Jahmaal ‘Chipmunk’ Ffye is quick to exploit that by opening with a 20 second clip of a male voice (which due to the language used and the megaphone distortion effect applied) we are led to believe is a police officer. He orders someone to ‘get down from the top of the scene’. A helicopter sounds to be hovering above, and police sirens are wailing.

As the police officer continues to speak, we discover he is asking that someone to ‘get down from the top of the scene’ as it is ‘unfair on the rest’. The Artist is leading us to believe that he is so dominant that it is unfair on his competitors. The Artist believes he is superior to his rivals at rapping.

The song proper begins with the Artist telling us of his origins. He claims to have come from the London Underground. This is a play on words, as he is referring not to the subway system in the capital but to the underground rap scene. The Artist is attempting to induce interest in his lyrics through wordplay.

He continues by telling us that he has taken his sound (by which the Artist is referring to his style of music) and spread it ‘over ground’. This is a deliberate misunderstanding of the term ‘underground’ which the Artist used in the preceding line, here meaning that his ‘sound’ is now successful enough that he is no longer ‘underground’, and is entering the mainstream.

The Artist states he is ‘leveling over clouds’ and he is ‘on top’. He is reminding us of his dominance, which he informed us of approximately 20 seconds ago. We are reassured to find that he has not lost his connection with his origins however, as he tells us he is ‘holding it down’. As if this were not proof enough, he repeats the exercise again with another two-line rhyming couplet in which he first describes himself as a king on a throne, and then undercuts that with self-awareness by stating his head is ‘too big for a crown’.

He makes a concession to his audience’s common parlance by using the abbreviation ‘LOL’ but clarifies its meaning – ‘laugh out loud’. The Artist decides that just one acronym is insufficient, and he deploys another in the following line, leaving us with the following sequence: ‘LOL you can laugh out loud / SOS they wanna send out / try to call for help or something’. Here the Artist is telling a visceral story. We can imagine a group of people, many of whom are heavily intoxicated by alcohol. Two of the group begin to fight, and one of the fighters is the Artist. The assembled crowd are laughing because physical violence is amsuing. The Artist is easily triumphing over his opponent, and the fight passes a certain point causing the loser’s friends to wish to seek medical or police assistance for their friend. The Artist is telling us he is good at fighting.

The Artist then seems to realise his social obligation, and abruptly offers an endorsement for safer sex by telling us ‘preventions cure my cousin / prevent this beef from buzzing’. ‘Beef’ refers to the male sexual organ, whilst buzzing is metaphorical language designed to conjure images of flies surrounding rotting meat. This is a message which is immediately abandoned.

Having satisfied his conscience, the Artist resumes informing us of his status. He is the ‘beast’ who ‘elevated from the street’. However, this is an unusual admission of poor self-image from the Artist, who seems to visualise himself as some kind of monstrous creature. He swiftly casts aside this moment of self-doubt, however, as he says his competitors are weak.

The chorus, which will be repeated three times throughout the song, is chiefly about his rise as a mainstream star of rap music. He tells us ‘oh I’m coming’, ‘I’m coming up to take it down’ and ‘I’m free, coming deep’.

The chorus does not have any sexual connotations.

It is apparent that the Artist has in the past had his detractors, many of whom were his competitors. Over the next fifteen lines he berates them as he boasts of his own success. ‘4 years down the line I’m here,’ the Artist says, ‘4 years down the line you’re there.’ The Artist believes his performance has eclipsed that of his detractors.

We have further reason to question whether the Artist’s past was filled with unsupportive figures as following the chorus he again crows about his victory over his rivals, and asserts his own credentials as someone who has experience of the sort his customers believe they have had. ‘They was laughing at me, but who’s laughing now?’ the Artist questions.

At the end of the song, prior to the chorus and fade-out, the Artist answers his own question. ‘Hahahahahaha hahahahaha / You took me off the leash / Hahahahaha’.

Who’s laughing now? The Artist.