The Chicharones

When Pigs Fly

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Gorillaz have gotten all the press for their version of cartoon rap, but the Chicharones have a similarly tongue-in-cheek public persona based around a pair of comic-strip pigs who appear on all their album covers. Behind the scenes, the Chicharones are Canadian rappers Josh Martinez and Sleep, working in tandem with producer Plan G to create a larger than life, cartoony version of old school rap that looks back at the heyday of De La Soul and A Tribe Called Quest, complete with the same level of in-jokes and private mythologies. Their second full-length album, When Pigs Fly, builds on the strengths of 2003's Boss Hogs by both committing to the joke more fully (see the giggly "Pork Rind Discotheque" and "Surf Rock") and opening up a bit to allow for more reflective material like the deceptive satire of "Bully Bully" and the haunting, serious "Can't Find the Time." (That song, like the title track and two others, also appeared in different mixes on a taster EP called Pork Rind Disco.) Not just a goofy party record, but also a tuneful and catchy piece of mature hip-hop, When Pigs Fly didn't even make a ripple in the hip-hop mainstream, but it's one of 2005's most enjoyable releases.

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