I was disappointed to see a poorly-researched article in today’s Guardian suggesting that Mr B, the Gentleman Rhymer, is the inventor of the art form known as Chap Hop.
One cannot bring into question Mr B’s contribution to the form – it has been superlative. He is taking it into the mainstream – and good for him. I believe he did indeed coin the phrase ‘Chap Hop.’
But the idea that he is the first aristocratic rapper is plain wrong.
There was one that pre-dated him by several years. He used to trawl the comedy circuit in the late 1990s, was described as ‘viciously inventive’ by the Guardian and ‘very impressive and very witty’ by The Times, and even won some of the new act awards.
I know this for a fact, because it was me.
Here is the visual evidence of yours truly in his pin-stripes.
I stopped doing the act in early 1999 (briefly reviving it as part of my Edinburgh Show in 2000) because I felt it was time to move on.
One of those quirks of history is that the Internet only really came into widespread use after I’d stopped doing the act, so there’s no record of it online – no videos of gigs or reviews or anything.
I’ve got an audio recording somewhere of my first ever gig. It was one Sunday at Up The Creek in Greenwich – introduced by Malcolm Hardee and following an amazing set (not entirely for the right reasons) from Hovis Presley (both sadly no longer with us).
And I’ve got this recording made in a studio in, I guess, 1998 or 99. Without an audience, it ‘s a bit dry, but in the interests of history, here it is nonetheless.