Hip-hop group lays down beats on Kendall stage

In this year’s highly-anticipated Welcome Back Concert sponsored by the College Union Board, Chiddy Bang brought it like few rap groups can with an interactive fan experience and a fresh sound.

Chiddy of Chiddy Bang rocked the house on Saturday. (Photo courtesy of Andrew Bak)

The event was held on Kendall Hall Main Stage to a near-capacity crowd, and although the venue was small, it created an electric atmosphere while Chiddy and Xaphoon Jones — the members of Chiddy Bang — rocked the stage.

The duo brought its upbeat, energetic brand of hip-hop to Kendall, complete with Xaphoon playing the drums live for the band’s set. Chiddy, the band’s lyricist, kept the crowd engaged, frequently getting everyone to put their hands up and get into the infectious lyrics and beats.

One of the highlights of the show came when Xaphoon put down the drumsticks and picked up the mic, asking the audience to give Chiddy anything they could think of to rap about.

The chosen subjects ranged from Rosie O’Donnell to the College to gorillas on Mars (a topic Xaphoon himself admitted he had never heard requested before). Xaphoon then dropped a beat on his drums as Chiddy rapped about the topics given to him.

Chiddy used his freestyling prowess to incorporate all of the subjects into his rap, including saying something was fat like Rosie O’Donnell, and referring to the members of the crowd when he said he was “chillin’ with my gorillas on Mars.”

Chiddy Bang’s debut album  “Breakfast” is coming out on Feb. 28, and the group played a couple of their tracks — “Ray Charles” and “Mind Your Manners”— during the show. They also debuted a brand new track off the album.

The group has big plans for the record.

“We’re pushing a lot of boundaries,” Xaphoon said in an interview prior to the show. “And we’ve got a couple more high-profile features, but we wanted to definitely make a statement with the album and not do any, huge samples. ‘Opposite of Adults’ is a big song, but we also sampled a big song. And with this album, we wanted to definitely step away from that.”

The band is also looking to reinvent hip-hop, shooting for a fresh sound on the album and some “deeper meanings,” the members said.

“Just layers of sound” Xaphoon explained. “It’s a very international album, it’s very futuristic. It’s kind of us with a budget. Before we just had a laptop and a mic, now we have a laptop and a mic and a piano and a string section and crazy synth. We just have more tools at our availability. And we’re also older, so our mind works in different ways now and we’ve just been sitting on some of our best material for almost a year and a half.”

The biggest factor that made the show a success was that the group really seemed to have fun on the stage, from Xaphoon slamming on the drums in an exaggerated fashion to Chiddy constantly prompting the crowd to get on their feet and sing along.

The band thinks that fun is an important concept for everyone, not just in music.

“If you’re not having fun, what are you doing?” Xaphoon said. “You’re probably in the wrong line of work.”

“We generally just seek fun, or I guess fun seeks us,” Chiddy said. “You know what I’m sayin’? In a lot of situations.”

The crowd definitely had fun as well, especially when the pair played its smash hit “Opposite of Adults.” Chiddy got the audience jumping and the roof was rocking in Kendall as seemingly every person in attendance sang along.

The Jane Doze, an all-female DJ group consisting of Claire Schlissel and Jen Mozenter, started off the show. They mashed up popular songs from Drake, Lady Gaga, Rihanna and others during their set.

Jane Doze started the show off with some more obscure tunes, which led to many in the crowd staying in their seats.

However, by the time the group hit the end of their set, the pair was mashing some more prominent songs, which got the crowd up and going. The crowd went even crazier when the duo came down from the stage and danced through the crowd.

While it might not have been the best venue for a mash-up artist because it was a little cramped for dancing, the group did a good job and did not take away the essence of the songs they were mixing.

Overall, at the Welcome Back Concert, Jane Doze set the scene, and then Chiddy Bang tore it up.