Freshman Haze: Chipmunk
Grime music has birthed big stars, such as Tinie Tempah and Dizzee Rascal. Chipmunk is next up to bat. From rhyming on pirate radio sets in his early teenage years to now being one of the most successful urban acts in the UK, Chipmunk has achieved a lot in his 20-year-old life. Chipmunk has topped the European charts, won prestigious awards and has worked alongside Keri Hilson, Chris Brown, Mavado and Trey Songz on his latest album, "Transition." And still, you may have not heard of him. Allow us to introduce you to Chipmunk.
Statistics: Jahmaal Noel Fyffe. 20 years old. London-born. @ChipmunkArtist
Resume : Rapper and songwriter.
Body Of Work: Mixtapes: "Fresh Out The Oven," "Whatever The Weather Volume 1," "Whatever The Weather Volume 2," "League Of My Own," "Guess Who?" and "For The Fun Of It." Albums: "I Am Chipmunk" (2009) and "Transition" (2011).
A Few Words...
The Juice: How did you get into music?
Chipmunk: I got into music when I was about 14 or 15, but I felt that I wanted to pursue it just before I signed a deal. I just used to like people with good rhythm like Jay-Z, Kanye West and Lil Wayne. Juelz Santana was someone that I would listen to in terms of formulating your own style of rap. On a UK tip, I was inspired by So Solid Crew.
You made a big name for yourself working within UK's grime scene. What was it about that genre of music that attracted you to it?
Grime was the thing! At the time I started MCing [it] was the type of music that formulated and allowed artists to show their talent. Whereas now, it's download this, download that, when at the time, it was just grime. I miss those days for those days, but I'm not doing it now. I look at MCs now and I think, 'Rah! You can go on the Internet and spit bars for three minutes, but when I was coming through, I had to go pirate radio and spit for hours.'
What other UK artists do you rate?
Tinie Tempah is doing really well. Dizzee Rascal is the godfather, for me. But what Tinie is doing is inspirational.
From "Oopsy Daisy" to now working with Mavado on "Every Gyal," your musical direction has changed. What was the turning point?
You know what? Thanks for acknowledging that, because I think people only acknowledge and notice the changes that they want to notice. No one noticed the change that happened before the point where I could make 'Oopsy Daisy', because they were stuck in a certain genre, which is cool with me. At the time, I wanted to make that type of music because it was a step that had to be taken. I was the one who could do it, so I did it and reaped the highest rewards that I possibly could from it. It was something that I really wanted to do. I wasn't pressurised into doing it and it was something that I knew would take me to the next level. If you were young, black and an MC, and your song wasn't pop, then you weren't getting on the radio. But it's not that time now. The radio boundaries have been broken down by certain MCs at the time. People like me, Dizzee Rascal, Tinchy Stryder and N-Dubz broke that radio core down and made the perception of an MC go forward. You can have people coming in with the harder sound and be successful, so now, it's at the point where those that can adapt can survive. I don't think there's any genre that I can't touch.
What would you say has been your lowest and happiest moment?
I think the lowest moments are... They're not even really low. It's probably just times when you're trying to get to the that next level. You can end up thinking in circles, but sometimes the answer is just out of your circle. The highest moments aren't signified by things that I can keep, like plaques and awards. Being in the studio with artists that I couldn't ever imagine being in the studio with has also been a high moment.
On your most recent album, "Transition," you worked with a lot of big names, but who has been your favorite artist to work with so far?
I wouldn't say I have a favorite, but the one I probably learnt the most from was Chris Brown. He showed that element of stardom that can't be taught - it's something that you've either got or you haven't. That kind of influences you.
You're quite big in the UK, but you're still quite unknown in the States. Do you plan on going to the U.S. to tour?