Chance The Rapper Mixtape Review: A Jackson Pollock-Style Coloring Book

Coloring Book album art ( Coloring Book album art ( Carefree and optimistic despite the odds is 23-year-old Chance the Rapper. That’s been his message since his first appearances around Chicago only a few years ago, and he continues to disseminate it in his third album, Coloring Book. Chance interlaces the Chicago Children’s Choir with featured acts as Kanye West, Lil’ Wayne, 2 Chainz and more to juxtapose the negativity running through his hometown. That negativity is of course sparked by constant rises in death tolls by the bullet, and negativity in the music industry as a whole. Chance delivers his easygoing approach and passion for life with lyrics like, “Daddy said I’m so determined/Told me these goofies can’t hurt me,” followed by, “I might give Satan a swirlie” in “All We Got (feat. Kanye West & Chicago Children’s Chorus).” He pairs such lyrics with a trumpet that sends a powerful stomp through the song. All the while, Chance brings us along on the beginning of a journey that blends tropical beats, jazz and gospel themes. Right from the beginning of Coloring Book, Chance tells you that with all he’s got, he’s going to make this life worthy by consistently pounding out his music, and distributing it for free in the form of an online mixtape. That self-confidence is what drives the writing on this third album. Chance transitions to song two of the album, “No Problem (feat. Lil Wayne & 2 Chainz),” through which he communicates his creativity and power of persuasion, asserting that, “If one more label try to stop me/It’s gonna be some dreadhead n***as in your lobby.” Chance doesn’t need assistance from the bureaucracy to translate his message to an audience. He proclaimed that during his time as a featured act with Kids These Days, whose motto was, “Save Money.” And he still goes by that motto, by providing his fans with all he’s got for free. Chance wants to share with you his self-confidence and success, not only by giving you his life’s work. He also provides you with a lullaby in which D.R.A.M. sings to you three simple words, accompanied by synthetic trills that sound like an arcade game’s audio representation of the stars twinkling. “D.R.A.M. Sings Special” is like a variation on “Everybody’s Something (ft. Saba & BJ The Chicago Kid)” from his last album, Acid Rap, through which Chance questioned his spirituality when he begged, “Why God phone die every time I call on him/If his son had a Twitter one day I would follow him.” Meanwhile, on Coloring Book“Blessings” blatantly alludes to his spirituality again to pair with his positivity. Those elements have been a consistent motif throughout Chance’s five years on the national front. And he continues to spread his guiding light to an audience who seeks comfort in our city of tumult, and more recently, our nation.
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Elif Geris