Previously when I’ve written about music suggestions, I’ve recommended bands based on an entire album, based on an interesting take on a genre or based on a single track. This time, I want to recommend Mr. B the Gentleman Rhymer for no other reason than I think he’s ace.
Can Explain What This Chap Hop Thing Is All About?
Imagine if hip-hop had been invented during in the Victorian era.
Is it alright that I’m a little bit scared?
It’s a bit like that, but with a lot more cricket.
Mr B the Gentleman Rhymer is a self proclaimed Chap-Hop Superstar. Back in 2007 he released a song called “A Piece of My Mind” which was about the, then new, UK ban on smoking in public places and was an open letter to (again, then) Prime Minister Gordon Brown.
… It was also a hip-hop song performed entirely in received pronunciation.
Or, as some folks call it, “that posh accent from Downton, innit Bruv”
Topics for his songs include (to name a few):
- Philosophy (with his track “Guy Debord”),
- The state of the music industry (“Brit School” and “The Crack Song”),
- Sartorial and etiquette matters (“Hail The Chap”, “Beats, Rhymes and Manners” and “Brushed Tweed in the Hour of Chaos”)
- Love and Relationships (“Lady C’, “Sherry Monocle”, “Curtsey For Me”, “A Throughly Modern Breakup”)
- The history of his beloved Hip-Hop (“I Invented Hip-Hop”,, “Hip-Hop Was to Blame After All”)
- And even a few covers of classic songs (“Chap-Hop History” and “Songs for Acid Edward”).
All of this (and more) showing his wit, wisdom and ability to write rhymes about, seemingly, anything.
Including comparing the current UK political landscape to the classic British Sitcom The Fall and Rise of Reginald Perrin in the first track of 2016’s There’s a Rumpus Going On.
There have been six Chap-Hop albums from Mr B at the time of writing, with one having been released a few months before this article was written.
You’ll see why I specified Chap-Hop in a moment.
- Flattery Not Included (2008)
- I Say (2010)
- The Tweed Album (2012)
- Can’t Stop, Shan’t Stop (2013)
- Mr. B’s Christmas Album (2015)
- There’s a Rumpus Going On (2016)
I would definitely recommend all of the above but if I had to pick just one for the new listener, then I would recommend “I Say” from 2010.
In fact, I’m listening to it while writing this blog post.
It has enough catchy tunes on there (with minimal back and forward references) to keep anyone coming back.
Definitely check out his newest album, too.
Just listened to Hermitage Shanks, as I proof read that part.
The reason I specifically mentioned Chap-Hop earlier is because Mr B has also released an “Acid Ragtime” album under the name Mr B the Gentleman Selector – Acid Ragtime: Chapstep Volume One (2014)
It was first publicly played, in its entirety, during a Thursday Night Show web-cast.
What is Acid Ragtime? Imagine early 90’s acid rave music, but built around samples of Noel Coward and other early British film stars.
He has also released two mini long players on BandCamp, under the name “The Major“. Both are quite short, at 6 tracks long, and labelled as “Terribly English Electronica”.
Did I mention that he writes and produces all of these himself?
Pretty cool, eh?
There have been a few knockers along the way
… you know, do-baders. Haters, as it were
As with all Hip-Hop legends, Mr B has had his fair share of rivalries. Mr B is no exception to that, having had a public rivalry with fellow Chap-Hop artist Professor Elemental.
The difference between Mr. B and the more famous Hip-Hop rivalries, is that the one between Mr. B and Professor Elemental was settled via “The Duel” (a track on Elemental’s 2012 album Father of Invention).
Where Does One Start With Chap-Hop?
I would say that you should start at the beginning, if only so that you can witness the greatness that is Chap-Hop History:
In fact, why not just head over to Mr. B’s YouTube channel and give them all a watch? It’s jolly good fun.
I have to admit that my favourite track with a video has to be ‘ Just Like a Chap’:
Keen readers will recognise where the header image for this blog post came from.
Being a modern musical act means that you’re expected to keep in contact with your fans on Social Media, and Mr. B is no exception to this. He’s quite active on Facebook and Twitter, replying to messages with fans and posting images from his live shows. There’s a blog over on Tumblr and some demos and recordings over on his SoundCloud (including a short series of podcasts), MixCloud and BandCamp pages, too.
With all that going on it’s a small wonder how he finds the time to record new material, let alone go on tour, but he does both very regularly.
Seriously you should totally check out Mr. B’s stuff, even if you’re not a fan of Hip-Hop. There’s a set covers of classic UK rave and acid tracks:
And one of the only acceptable Christmas songs to be recorded (the other being Jonathan Coulton’s Chrion Beta Prime):
Definitely give some of his stuff a listen, go see one of his live shows (he’s exceedingly good live), or just catch him playing one of his Gentleman Selector gigs (usually radio broadcasts). You wont regret it.