For a minimum of 15 years, Chunky has been the unofficial voice of Manchester’s underground membership scene: a toasting host within the outdated custom, however with a tender humor and musical demeanor that eschew the standard macho trappings of membership MCs. He dips and bobs over hip-hop and dirt with the identical ease as drum’n’bass and leftfield techno, and his nasal soundbites and cheeky aphorisms—about impolite basslines, the value of a bag of weed—are sometimes the sound left ringing in clubbers’ ears as they make their dawn journeys dwelling.
Manchester has modified so much since Chunky began spitting, with billions of kilos being pumped into the development of latest glass-and-steel monoliths all through town heart, driving locals out and luring yuppies with a penchant for noise complaints in. And whereas town’s cultural baggage nonetheless swings heavy—Manufacturing unit Information, the Haçienda, these Gallaghers and their legions of parka-and-square-haircut acolytes—the hum of envelope-pushing digital music has remained fixed. With Anyone’s Baby, the rapper-producer’s most substantial solo effort thus far, Chunky slots right into a wealthy lineage that runs from A Man Referred to as Gerald to Anz: one which emphasizes character, charisma, and, typically, simply being just a little odd.
Despite the place it was incubated, Anyone’s Baby feels faraway from the open hustle of the membership or the itch of the afters. As a substitute, these nighttime influences arrive like photo voltaic flares, sparking aurora in scatters of coloration and light-weight: The manufacturing is spare, particulate, and trippy, led by a sort of childlike curiosity that matches the light intimacy of Chunky’s vocal supply.
He skips between metallic shards on “RNS,” rants over the sofa-slumped bassline of “GNG,” and claws by way of a foggy gloom on “Meh.” Opener “YES I” doubles as a mesmerizing stream-of-consciousness manifesto that leaps with out hiccup between stage exhibits and Rosa Parks, Napoleons Dynamite and Bonaparte, shoulder barges and rounds of playing cards. He weaves candid interviews with youthful relations between the damaged dancehall of “Long N Strong,” collapsing the aloof, tinny percussion preparations into moments of homely intimacy. In doing so, he applies the identical qualities which have helped him heat up crowds within the dance, nudging them to maneuver to the entrance, fill out the area, join with strangers.
This freeform method does have its limitations. There are sketches that really feel like they’re nonetheless within the draft stage. The jazzy bop of “Giv U,” a young dedication to his mom, struggles to carry up the golden weight of Lemn Sissay–esque strains like “If I could’ve chosen, know that I still would’ve made you my mam/Woulda stole, woulda killed, woulda found an excuse/To still go and make you my dukes.”