Chip: Snakes & Ladders review – mixtape with a Stormzy complex

(Cash Motto)
A one-sided grievance clouds on this impressively versatile set

Is it unfair to call the bar wars between Stormzy and Chip underwhelming? One key contention appears to be that the 2019 Glastonbury headliner once parked his car outside grime veteran Chip’s house. While the bickering thankfully lacks the high stakes of 90s rap or early grime feuds, Chip is exercised enough to have released three new anti-Stormzy songs. Wisely, though, Snakes & Ladders omits his most viciously personal diss track, 10 Commandments (“You’re not Christian, you’re a fraud”). Is his grievance real, or might calling out Stormzy boost his first-week numbers? Either way, you need two swords to duel, and Stormzy’s has mostly been sheathed.

It’s cruel, but Chip knows he’s not in the south Londoner’s league. And that must be galling, because this mixtape spotlights his enviable dexterity and versatility across grime, garage, hip-hop and breath-soft Caribbean beats, never outshone by guest verses from Young Adz, Dizzee, Bugzy or Headie One. The solo 0420 is a gripping eulogy that sits you with a man worn down by death, desperately unspooling his thoughts to a ghostly digital choir. What Chip needs now are the huge hooks and killer couplets that Dave or, yes, Stormzy deliver.

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