For at least 15 years, Chunky has been the unofficial voice of Manchester’s underground club scene: a toasting host in the old tradition, but with suave humor and a musical demeanor that eschews the usual masculine trappings of club MCs. . It dips and sways over hip-hop and grime as easily as drum’n’bass and left-field techno, and its nasal snippets and cheeky aphorisms, over rude bass lines, the price of a bag of grass, are often the sound that sounds. in the ears of clubbers as they make their early morning trips home.
Manchester has changed a lot since Chunky started spitting, with billions of pounds pouring into building new glass and steel monoliths across the city center, driving out the locals and attracting yuppies with a penchant for noise complaints. With cultural baggage still going strong—Factory Records, the Treasury, the Gallaghers and their legions of parka-wearing, boxy-haired acolytes—the electronic music buzz has remained constant. With someone’s sonThe rapper-producer’s most substantial solo effort to date, Chunky sits in a rich lineage that stretches from A Guy Called Gerald to Anz: one that emphasizes character, charisma, and sometimes just being a little weird.
Despite where it was incubated, someone’s son you feel removed from the open hustle and bustle of the club or the itch of after parties. Instead, those nocturnal influences arrive like solar flares, sparking auroras in scattering of color and light: the production is spare, particulate, and hallucinatory, led by a kind of childish curiosity that matches the smooth intimacy of Chunky’s vocal delivery.
He leaps between metallic shards on “RNS,” rants over the couch-slumping bassline of “GNG,” and claws through a misty gloom on “Meh.” Opener “YES I” doubles as a mesmerizing stream of consciousness that jumps seamlessly between stage shows and Rosa Parks, Napoleons Dynamite and Bonaparte, barges and rounds of cards. He weaves candid interviews with younger members of the family among the broken dancehall of “Long N Strong,” collapsing the distant percussion and tinny arrangements into moments of homey intimacy. In doing so, he applies the same qualities that have helped him pump up dance crowds, encouraging them to come forward, fill the space, connect with strangers.
This freeform approach has its limitations. There are sketches that feel like they are still in the draft stage. The jazz bop of “Giv U,” a tender dedication to his mother, struggles to hold the golden weight of Lemn Sissay-esque lines like “If I could have chosen, I know I still would have made you my mama/ I would have stolen, I would have killed , I would have found an excuse / To keep going and making them my dukes.”