Mr B The Gentleman Rhymer, Chap Hop superstar has returned for his 4th album and I am glad to say this is the a glorious return to form. For the uninitiated, Mr B is the inventor of chap hop, in which hip hop is married to good grammar, politeness and the bad behaviour of a cad and a rogue. Just so we’re all singing from the same hymn sheet, here is one of his earliest songs, ‘Straight Outta Surrey’…
His debut, Flattery Not Included is a masterpiece. A hilarious, riotously funny collection of utterly brilliant songs. It contains his best, rudest and funniest songs. However I feel he struggled after that.
I Say! has it moments but struggles from not being as funny as his debut. ‘All Hail The Chap’ is simply better live, ‘You Just Can’t’ nearly reaches the greatness of Flattery… but not quite. ‘Songs For Acid Edward’ remains a Mr B staple though.
And then The Tweed Album. For me, a disappointment. Lacking in witty rhymes and musically rather tame. ‘Curtsey For Me’ is brilliantly catchy but the whole album seemed… watered down. Almost as if Mr B was cleaning up his act and aiming for Radio 2. *Shudder*… So I was wondering if he was proving to be a one album wonder.
Luckily Can’t Stop, Shan’t Stop is his Paul’s Boutique. He seems to have matured, but with it has delivered the Chap Hop album the world has been waiting for. Mr B is on amazing form throughout. The music is first rate too, from his trusty banjolele, to tombones, double basses, drum machines, beatboxing, plenty of piano, even a rock guitar solo.
‘Shelltoes Or Brogues’ gets the album off to a flying start and it’s clear that Mr B has pulled the lyrics from the top drawer. Style, panache and wit, everything you want from Mr B.
‘Ladies have Friends Who They Hate’ may have a controversial title but the word play is excellent, the satire is sharp and he even covers the Beastie Boys!
‘(I’ve No Wish To) Keep It Real’ sees Mr B returning to his favourite topic of bad habits in rap music. He doesn’t insult Tim Westwood this time around but is classic stuff with plenty of banjolele.
‘Hip Hop Was To Blame After All’ is another hip hop history lesson that sees him taking on gangster rap and the commercialisation of rap.
‘Pop Song’ may have a bland name but in it he details the different sizes of champagne and you will never have heard word play like it. Another song that shows the new cabaret leanings of Mr B.
‘Grammar Song’ is another ditty in the tradition of ‘A Piece Of My Mind’.
‘In A Club’ is an excellent 50 Cent parody that features a cameo from butler Carshalton for your money.
‘Brit School’ is a riposte against The X Factor. Mr B is in an angry mood this time round but comes up with such winners as ‘a game of one downmanship’.
‘Toast’ is a slightly weaker number, sounding a bit like a pop hangover from The Tweed Album.
‘Rude Britannia’ returns to the saucy hi-jinks of Flattery Not Included that pastiches the amorous intention of many rap songs.
‘It Doesn’t Pay To Turn Up Late To An Orgy’ is as funny as the title suggests and we also finally get to hear from Lady Fanshawe. This song is great live too.
‘Reasons To Be Unsuccessful (Part One)’ is a solid number that suffers slightly from strong competition from the other tracks here.
‘The Corinthians’ is simply a list of all round good chaps. It’s rather delightful.
‘The Neglect Of My Duties’ suffers from being a bit too similar in theme to the track before last and seems like a hangover from The Tweed Album.
‘Brushed Tweed In The Hour Of Chaos’. What a title! Mr B recounts his invitation to the Palace. And then Mr B has been taking lessons from ‘Straight Up And Down’ by The Brian Jonestown Massacre with a long fade out homaging / borrowing / nicking the Beatles’ refrain from ‘Hey Jude’. An epic finish to an epic album.
Maybe the best compliment is that this is a brilliant rap album, the fact that chap hop now seems supplemental to the sheer quality of the music as opposed to being a gimmick.
The man is simply brilliant and his new album is as simply brilliant as befits his talent. Can’t Stop, Shan’t Stop is an essential buy and go see the man live too, support your local chap hop superstar!