Thank you for your comments regarding SAB events. We are always interested in our fans‚Äô ideas and feedback. Typically with this blog, the Student Activities Board tries to encourage and influence critical thought about the popular culture we both consume and create at Messiah College.¬† However, being that there are some current issues and distasteful ideas being spread throughout Messiah‚Äôs campus and beyond, we‚Äôve decided to take the time to clear up any misconstrued thoughts floating around.¬† This past weekend, on November 13th, SAB hosted¬†the Philadelphia based indie hip-hop group Chiddy Bang in Brubaker Auditorium. During the show,¬†local police confronted two individuals in the parking lot, questioned them, and eventually towed their car.¬†While the individuals were friends of the artist, the incident did not have a negative impact on the show, as it occurred in the parking lot during the¬†performance.¬†Messiah College Campus Safety and SAB had no involvement in this confrontation,¬†as the local police¬†initiated¬†contact with the vehicle’s owner.¬†SAB will remain committed to bringing culturally relevant artists to campus. As always, we¬†encourage¬†students to critically¬†engage¬†with¬†popular culture and¬†to use discernment in making choices regarding what they consume.
We discuss bands for spring shows on a daily basis, if you have any suggestions, please complete a band recommendation form found at the following link. [http://tinyurl.com/28fmcpa]
Published in The Swinging Bridge Campus Newspaper, November 10, 2010:
As I hope you’ve heard by now, SAB will be hosting indie-rap duo Chiddy Bang in concert on Saturday, November 13th, with local rockers Kingsfoil opening. We’re very excited for the show, and we hope you are too! Since releasing several free songs and mixtapes online in 2009, Chiddy Bang has rapidly developed a rabid fanbase and performed at major festivals such as Lollapalooza and Glastonbury. The group is comprised of 20-year-olds Chidera “Chiddy” Anamege and Noah “Xaphoon Jones” Beresin, who have put their studies at Drexel University on hold after receiving a record deal from major label EMI. Chiddy Bang is one of the first, if not the only, secular hip-hop group to perform at Messiah College, so students who attend the concert will truly experience a unique event for this campus.
One of the most frequently asked questions SAB receives about concerts is why we select certain artists in lieu of others. Discussing the value we see in Chiddy Bang will hopefully not only shed some light on our process, but also provide some excellent reasons to attend the show. The criteria SAB uses to evaluate potential performers are, in line with Messiah College’s statement on pop culture, artistic merit, cultural significance, truth communicated, and appropriateness, with the goal of helping students engage pop culture in a conscious, critical manner.
Because of the difficulty in finding clean hip-hop artists, the first thing we looked at with Chiddy Bang was the appropriateness of their lyrics and image. While even the most vulgar of performers can have value and truth to their messages and music, such an artist would not be a good choice for our audience or setting. Fortunately, Chiddy Bang’s lyrics, minus a few relatively small exceptions, are essentially spotless, though certain guest rappers on their mixtapes and remix releases do contribute some vulgarity and heavier themes. Lyrically, Chiddy often promotes positivity and self-confidence, interspersed with social perspectives. “Sooner or Later” dedicates itself to Nigeria, discussing land-mines, government, and broken families in a way that empathizes with struggle everywhere. Even in a rare song that focuses on problems far more than hope, Chiddy highlights that he’s “still happy to be alive” and leaves us with symbolic images of kites ascending to an open sky.
Chiddy Bang’s cultural significance can be partially summed up by the details of their success in the first paragraph, but another portion of their importance comes from the style of music they create. With prominent samples of MGMT, Radiohead, Sufjan Stevens, and Passion Pit, Chiddy Bang has strong roots in both alternative music culture and the thriving remix scene online, the latter propagated by blogs and sites such as The Hype Machine. What elevates Chiddy Bang above their indie-rap contemporaries, however, is probably what falls under “artistic merit.” An important component in any rap song is the beat, and DJ-producer Xaphoon frequently ties seemingly absurd samples into a cohesive, powerful, and slick unit. His work spans a broad swath of styles, from the fervently hyper electro-dance of “Truth” to the smoothly enhanced boom-bap on “Nothing on We” and the ringtone-esque whistle hook in the background during “Fresh Like Us.” The distinctive vocals and consistently well-timed flow of Chiddy give a level of royal authority to his wide-eyed youthful emphasis on hope, dreams, and future success. When the powers of the two combine, Chiddy Bang makes impossibly fun music with a fascinating complexity underneath the catchiness.
Perhaps the most integral part of analyzing popular culture is the attempt to find intrinsic truth or meaning. There is plenty of value to be found in how Chiddy Bang presents a fresh look at the world, one where hope can transcend struggle even within the complex environment of life. Some of the sentiments shared in “Opposite of Adults” particularly should ring true for anyone on the road to responsibility, adulthood, and life-decisions: “reminisce the days of innocence”; “mo’ money, mo’ problems”; “can I please just get a little bit of knowledge?” In line with our focus on critical thought about popular culture, I would be amiss if I didn’t admit there are times when Chiddy Bang falls short, when their samples are more novelty than quality, when the lyrics are a little too simple for the message they are trying to send. But as 20-year-olds who have only just honed their signature style, the two members of Chiddy Bang demonstrate an impressive maturity more often than not, and the number of their great songs far outweighs the number of their unsavory moments. Those two factors alone make Chiddy Bang a must-listen now and a great act to follow in expectation of future success. I highly encourage you to come out to the show on Saturday and see what you think.
Written by: Ryan Faus [SAB President and B-Sides Executive]1 comment
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