Single Review: Chipmunk ft. Chris Brown – ‘Champion’

Ooh, looky! If it isn’t everybody’s favourite rapper rubbing shoulders with the big US stars! When all else fails – and in Chipmunk’s case, not much else could’ve failed more resoundingly since his début album and it’s pointless re-release, failing to score big with either ‘Flying High’ or his collaboration with a GAZILLION other British grime artists, ‘Game Over’ – let the big dogs loose and smack out a tune about overcoming all your haters and your troubles. Job done.

It seems the UK’s not good enough for Chip Diddy Chip right now, so in light of his recent chart (not quite) success, he’s only gone and collaborated with Chris Brown. Very strategic…

Or is it?

Well, the US love Chris Brown. Still. Even though there’s been a lot of controversy surrounding him ever since his… ahem… ‘altercation’ with Rihanna, the US have forgiven him and with the success of ‘I Can Transform Ya’, ‘Crawl’, ‘Deuces’ and ‘Yeah 3x’ to name a few, he’s still a pretty consistently selling artist. However, us Brits, we love Rihanna even more muchly than the US. And because of that, the two singles Chris has released in the UK since his domestic violence charges – ‘I Can Transform Ya’ and ‘Crawl’, only reached the not-so-lofty heavens of #26 and #35, respectively. Things do seem to be on the up though: Chris’ recent rip-off–oh, sorry – brand-spanking-new, shiny, and completely original UK single, ‘Yeah 3x’, has crept into the Top 10, but then again, it bares an uncannily striking resemblance to ‘Heaven’ by DJ Sammy, mixed with Calvin Harris’ ‘I’m Not Alone’.

Hmm… back on track: what I’m saying is that whilst ‘Champion’ may not be solely to regain some Chipmunk listeners here in the UK, it’s certainly going to do wonders for him stateside anyhow.

And naturally, now that Chipmunk’s standing tall with Chris Brown, his lyrics have matured a little, however, his delivery is a sloppy and as gimmicky as ever – particularly, the lines “Now my dream and reality’s simultaneous”, and “Not everybody gets a second chance at making moneyyy/Or even gettin’ luckyyy/So you gotta feel the hunger in your tummyyy” have the potential to be Actually Very Good Rap Lyrics but just listen to the way Chipmunk’s apparently pre-pubescent voice slurs them out in a would-be comedic style – it just doesn’t work. Add to that an uninspired, wandering – and very dullard – piano backing, and a militant-yet-lackadaisical drum loop, topped off with Chris’ strained vocals guided by a healthy layer of auto-tune and be prepared to let the boredom take you over.

Listening to it, you get the feeling the song should be doing something to you; make you feel inspired to feel better about yourself, or words to that effect. But in hindsight, the song is clearly dominated by Chris’s earnest whinings about pushing himself to the limit and that he “was born a champion”, yet it stimulates very little emotional response from the listener, most likely because of it’s artificiality.

The chorus at least attempts to please on what would otherwise be a very unexciting song and provides a fairly decent dose of catchiness – nothing wrong with that – but it’s still not doing that something songs of this ilk need to do – it’s a bit like a wet fish. Unpleasant thought, really.

Here’s the video: Spot the contradiction at 1:24…

Champions do not reside in holes in the ground. It’s even funnier because he’s hunched over. Ha.

Alas, Chipmunk had the right idea to regain some recognition – and he appears to have got the right guy as well – ‘Champion’ is headed for #1 this week, but still, it does nothing for me. And I speak from a completely neutral viewpoint when it comes to Chris Brown vs. Rihanna, so it’s not like I’m being biased or anything. It’s just, neither Chris Brown nor Chipmunk has ever really done anything for me musically, and despite one of their most obviously gallant efforts ‘Champion’ just doesn’t cut the mustard either.

Rating: 2.0 STARS

Download: February 6, 2011 (OUT NOW)

Featured Album: ‘Transition’

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  1. Gerard McGarry

    Hey there! You know until yesterday I had no idea that Chipmunk was responsible for this record. I was looking for Kanye, or possibly Diddy. In fact, even in the video, Mr Munk (hahahahahaha…can we call him Alvin?) looks much less like a large-headed manboy than usual. He looks like a mini Puffy.

    As to the tune, I don’t mind it. Thing is with this brand of generic radio-friendly hip-hop – I find it listenable enough, but it sounds like hip-hop by numbers. All of it blends into one big electro-anthem.

  2. team breezy

    who ever wrote this dumb article, you really need to back off because i dont see rihanna doing well even though she releases nearly every dumb song off her album thinking they are going to sell but they don’t. And anyway if this song is going for number 1 what does that tell you about the song? that everyone likes it so go listen to your dumb music and stop bagging everyone else’s.

    1. Gerard McGarry

      Er…isn’t Rihanna selling records by the truckload at the moment?

      You know the thing about Chris Brown is that the “Rihanna incident” is going to hang like a dark cloud over his career. Cheryl Cole still gets grief in the UK for a bust-up with a toilet attendant and that was minor compared with the beating Chris gave Rihanna.

      Also…and I get tired of saying this on the Internet, but the job of a music reviewer is to give their opinion on the song and the artist. I’d love to hear why you think the song is so special…

    2. Dara Hickey

      What does it tell me? Well now, just where do I start!?

      1) Radio 1 are playing the usual commercial bollocks.

      2) Anyone can score a hit record these days with a few lyrics about overcoming trouble.

      3) People are buying into the usual Radio 1 commercial bollocks because the vast majority appear to have the inability to search outside of it’s highly limited playlist when it comes to their music; they’d rather buy what’s thrusted under their noses than search for real talent.

      And why not, sure – I’ll listen to some “dumb” Hurts now. 🙂

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