“Chance the Rapper’s Coloring Book is one of the strongest rap albums released this year, an uplifting mix of spiritual and grounded that even an atheist can catch the Spirit to.” – Kris Ex of Pitchfork Media.
Considered as one his generation’s most exciting artists, Chance The Rapper (real name: Chancelor Bennett) is making the headlines with his acclaimed mixtape Coloring Book.
Much has happened since Chance released 10 Day and Acid Rap three years ago. Now at the (still) tender age of 23 years old, Chance has witnessed life (the birth of his daughter), death (his grandmother’s death) and an increase of police and gang violence tearing his Chicago hometown apart. Three years have gone by and Chance is back with a testament.
Chance’s third mixtape is a joyful mix of gospel, hip-hop, soul, jazz, spoken words and funk and gathers some of the industry’s biggest names. The album features Kanye West, Lil Wayne, 2 Chainz, Jeremih, Francis And The Lights, D.R.A.M., Young Thug, Lil Yachty, Justin Bieber, Jay Electronica, T-Pain and Kirk Franklin. It also features friends from his Chicago-based artist family, including rappers Saba and Towkio.
In fact the Coloring Book feels like a jam session among friends, where everybody gathers to fulfil Chance’s vision. “Give Donnie a trumpet in case I get shortness of breath,” he raps on “Blessings”. Should anyone fail, another must get up and take over the creation. The spotlight is steered towards the message, not the messenger. But don’t be mistaken, Coloring Book is Chance’s vision and his own personal story. The melancholy and recollections of tracks like “Juke Jam” and “Smoke break” are here to testify. Chance’s talent lies in his ability to tell us his stories and yet make them sound like they belong to all of us.
The mixtape also has a spiritual outlining, the Chicago-born rapper takes us all the way to church and uses God’s word to pave the way. “The first, is that God is better than the world’s best thing/ God is better than the best thing that the world has to offer” we hear on “How Great”. We can imagine Chance’s eyes closed and hands raised high in praise.
Amidst the sacred imagery, Coloring Book is optimistic and bright, rising up against the pain and dark realities of Chance’s hometown. “Summer Friends” paints a dreary picture of the violence raging in Chicago: “Summer friends don’t stay around/ Our summer don’t get no shine no more/ Our summer die.” But Chance’s gospel is here to alleviate, elevate and heal its people. Indeed, the selfless and committed rapper uses his platform to spread words of wisdom, hope and freedom. “I don’t make songs for free, I make ’em for freedom/ Don’t believe in kings, believe in the Kingdom” he asserts on “Blessings.
Listen to Chance The Rapper’s masterpiece and get to know this promising artist: