Witness birth of a new music genre – chap-hop
by Ryan Butcher
No one knows exactly when hip-hop was born. All we know for sure is that it came from the Bronx sometime in the 1970s, was incredibly popular among young African Americans, oh, and that it changed the way we listened to music forever.
Whether it's Kanye West calling out George W Bush during his presidency, the murder of Notorious B.I.G, or Will Smith rapping the intro to The Fresh Prince of Bel Air, there are moments in hip-hop that have changed the world forever.
But without making sweeping generalisations, there's always been something about hip-hop I just couldn't relate to. I can't beat box, I can't break dance, and I definitely haven't had to endure the kind of persecution African Americans did during the birth of the genre.
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But if you're like me – a white, lower-middle class male who likes a gin every now and again, you'll want to be at the Strait and Narrow next Thursday to witness the birth of a new musical revolution.
The Lincoln bar, in the Strait, just off High Street, is launching its new concert series Strait Outta Lincoln, which aims to bring some of the most unique, varied and creative music acts from across the country.
And kicking-off the series, on January 31, is Mr B The Gentleman Rhymer – a high-society, pipe-smoking cricket enthusiast and the unquestioned Godfather of chap-hop. Taking elements of "chap culture" and the Steampunk movement, chap-hop is a new form of hip hop which combines a skilled lyrical flow with some of the most stereotypical of English concerns – like the weather and how to make a decent cuppa.
Armed with his trusty banjolele, Mr B is best-known for his tracks Timothy and Like A Chap, taken from his debut album Flattery Not Included.
It's satirical and comedic in nature, yes, and quite often when music and comedy go hand in hand the results are disastrous, but you only have to log on to YouTube to see that Mr B is the real dignified deal – and downright entertaining.
To prove chap-hop isn't just a flash in the pan, Mr B's contemporary and long-time rival Professor Elemental has also been confirmed for the Strait and Narrow, on Thursday, February 28.
A self-confessed mad Steampunk professor, Elemental's hobbies include adventure, sitting down to enjoy a good brew and, after listening to his standout single Cup of Brown Joy, lively and fun-packed rap music taken in new and exciting directions.
"Hip-hop is quite an extreme form of music, but what chap-hop does is poke fun at these extremes," explains Jez Nash, owner of the Strait and Narrow and organiser of Strait Outta Lincoln.
"For example, a lot of themes in hip-hop are centred around poverty and crime, but what chap-hop does is swing it the other way and rhyme about affluence and being well off.
"You might have the NWA rapping about machine guns, but Mr B talks about things like cricket and wearing tweed.
"It's an unusual parody but it's witty and well-informed. Both Mr B and Professor Elemental are skilled musical entertainers and it fits with the music we like to play at the Strait and Narrow – which can be anything from funk to reggae."
Tickets for both Mr B and Professor Elemental are on sale now from behind the bar, priced £3. Visit www.thestraitandnarrow.co.uk