REVIEW: Mr B the Gentleman Rhymer at the Exchange, Bristol. 9/10 (Pip Larkham)
YOU'VE heard of hip-hop? Well, now there's chap-hop.
Mr B is a "chap" and he can rap. He wears tweed, has a moustache and pipe, and raps in the Queen's English. But this is no flash in the pan, Mr B has already released two albums (I Say and The Tweed Album), and built up a cult following.
As the Gentleman Rhymer takes to the stage at the Exchange, rapturous applause and cheers greet him and Mr B gets straight into his act "all hail the chap" we're encouraged to sing/shout, and that's what we do.
Accompanied with backing tracks on his laptop and playing his trusty banjo (sorry, "banjolele") Mr B performs a mixture of his own tunes and covers, with a little parody mixed in.
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But Mr B isn't here to simply entertain, he's here to inform too.
Second song in and it's Chap-Hop History, where we're taken on a journey threading the Sugarhill Gang, Beastie Boys and L L Cool J together in his own inimitable style.
Introducing each song as he goes, we learn that Mr B has developed a love of German folk music (which precedes the funniest version of Kraftwerk's The Model I have ever heard).
Topics explored in My B's own tunes include "Timothy" Westwood, biscuits, cake, sherry, tea, goats, kissing – and we're all invited to bob up and down, sing along and wave our hands in the air. Everyone is more than happy to join.
If this all sounds a bit odd – it's not. It's cabaret, it's entertaining and you can tell that the "real" Mr B truly knows his hip-hop.