You can’t fake the funk. So goes the tried and true lyric.
For 56 minutes, at the unimpressive, cramped and alcohol-free North Star Bar, Chiddy Bang did just that.
The up-and-coming, alternative hip-hop group that made its bones at Drexel University had the crowd — half hipster, half Villanova-educated – spitting in unison, “Tell mommy I’m sorry, this life is a party, I’m never growing up.”
Chiddy Bang started off Wednesday night’s concert by warning the packed house that they were still “working out some kinks,” then went right into new tracks off their new album, “Breakfast.”
“Philadelphia, make some noise,” shouted Chidera “Chiddy” Anamege.
Then, he busted out trademark lyrics like, “Just pass the blunt cause baby I ain’t gonna babysit,” over a sample by the Grammy-award winning band “Train” on “Baby Roulette,” one of the group’s highly anticipated singles off “Breakfast,” which was released to the masses this past week. As the crowd worked itself into a frenzy, Noah, aka Xaphoon Jones, amped up a fan base that could best be described as something you might find in a frat house basement.
“Our new album was released last week and this week,” he said. “You can buy it in stores. You can buy it on iTunes. You can download it illegally. We don’t really care, as long as you like it.”
A few seconds later, the group brought the house down with a live performance of “By Your Side,” a track that was left off their latest album at the last minute. Noah told the audience that it was supposed to be the 15th track on “Breakfast,” but just missed the cut.
“We’re very passionate about this sample,” he said. “It never got cleared.”
(Check out the very Philly slanted video here.)
Chiddy Bang waited until about 45 minutes into the sold-out show to bust out their Billboard, chart-topping hit “The Opposite of Adults,” to which the mostly white house erupted. The fans without tickets pressed their PBRs up against the glass in the adjacent bar, while guys wearing Phillies attire slammed dance their approval in front of the stage.
“Let’s cap this ‘ish’ off,” shouted Chiddy, as he dabbed the sweat from his forehead with a white towel. “This is the song that started it all.”
Still, fans wanted more. They wanted the chart-topper “Ray Charles.” And the increasing waft of marijuana smoke only increased the hype. After a staged interaction, where Chiddy left the stage and Noah worked the crowd to get him back, the group finally belted out their most recognizable song to date.
Chiddy came on stage with a white towel on his head — no sunglasses at first — but as the track hit the hook, Chiddy threw on his BluBlockers, “I got my black shades on, smokin’ ’til it’s numb,” he rhymed.
The only problem was, just as the actual Ray Charles is no longer with us, neither was Chiddy Bang. Right before performing, “Ray Charles,” the group promised the night was just getting started, then they casually — and uneventfully — bolted the stage after a 56-minute show. As fans chanted for an encore — calling out for, “Chiddy,” and, “Noah,” specifically — the lights came on and the North Star security detail (read: Gestapo) informed onlookers that the show was indeed over.
We’ll chalk it up as a fresh, young hip-hop duo — in the middle of a worldwide tour, the group is due in London Tuesday — trying to feel their way around newfound stardom. As expected, the music lived up to the expectations (think old-school Pharcyde mixed with new-school Kanye West) and the album — produced by the highly successful EMI label — is top-notch, but the performers showed their infancy a bit. Then again, I remember watching a young Eminem and thinking the same thing.