Odd, isn’t it? Kanye and Jay-Z spent the summer fitting child seats, while Nas’s biggest hit in ages was about being an overprotective daddy. Rap’s dangerously close to becoming ‘The Cosby Show’.
So are any kids actually making hip hop any more?
Thankfully, yes. At 20 years old, Chicago’s Chancelor Bennett knows what it’s like to be young, foolish and free. Take his first mixtape as Chance The Rapper, ‘10 Day’, which he wrote after being suspended from school for smoking weed.
Did he learn his lesson with drugs?
Not exactly. He named his second mixtape ‘Acid Rap’ – inspired by a bit of recreational mind-tourism on LSD. Though he admits recording under the influence, he says it was ‘just a booster, a bit of fuel’.
Do I have to be under the influence to enjoy him?
Absolutely not. Rich in neo-soul production and sunny hooks, his sound is a deliberate counterpoint to the more thuggish sound of Chicago’s hip hop scene. The languid piano backing of ‘Cocoa Butter Kisses’ recalls Frank Ocean, while Chance’s zany nasal flow evokes his hero Eminem. Best of all, there’s not even the hint of a screaming baby in the background.
The Bottom Line: Take a chance on Chance.
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In case you didn’t know, Scandinavia is cool right now. The food, the fashion, the facial hair – plus the Vikings have invaded the British Museum. All we need next is a healthy economy, a reliable public transport system and a sense of social justice, and London will be indistinguishable from Oslo. Meanwhile in Hackney, there’s yet another Northern European-inspired incursion. Or apparently so: the website claims this bar-restaurant-club draws on ‘a Nordic aesthetic’, although it’s not immediately obvious within. Oslo occupies the previously deserted old Hackney rail station and takes on a bit of a railway theme with its luggage-rack lighting, plus there are industrial stylings that give the whole place a Janet Jackson ‘Rhythm Nation’ video feel. The restaurant part is rather fancy, its food incorporating a few of the forages, pickles, jellies and marinations of New Nordic cooking. The kitchen is regularly given over to guest chefs, and you have to book – it’s always heaving. Eat in the bar and the food is more straightforward. Where once the standard snack in pubs was a toastie, sausage roll or pork pie, now it’s the slider or fried chicken. These are served alongside frankly obscene portions of chips, slathered with the likes of cured bacon fat and bacon salt, or braised oxtail, gravy and cheese. There’s a commendable range of craft beers from the vicinity, including a couple from Five Points Brewing just five minutes up the road at the Downs.Head upstairs and you’ll find a
Venue says: “Join us every Thursday night until late for Soul Soul Soul – a night of vinyl appreciation with DJs playing soul, funk, disco and more.”