New sounds: Coloring Book by Chance The Rapper

From the moment the first trumpet slices though the silence and leads us into the soulful rhythmic chant…”And we back…”, Chicago MC Chance the Rapper has your ear. And he doesn’t give it back until nearly an hour (57 minutes) later.

Chancelor Bennet’s follow-up to 2013’s Acid Rap starts off like any other Kanye West produced CD opener – with a grandiose orchestra and the Chicago Children’s Choir. Chance’s Gospel influenced crooner-rap works well against the sound of horns. It’s a versatile style that allows him sing-rap on tracks on like “No Problems” with Lil Wayne and Two Chainz. The second track on Chance’chance-the-rapper-chance-3-new-album-download-free-stream-640x640s third mixtape. The single released a [month ago] and it definitely painted an appropriate preview of what to expect with this tape. This is feel good music.

“If one more label try to stop me, it’s gon be some dread head niggas in the lobby,” Chance screams into the mic.

This can be looked at as a reference some of the difficulties Chance faces as an independent artist. In a recent AMA on Reddit the hip hop artist acknowledged rumors that he record labels give him a hard time recording with their artists due to his independent status. The artist refuses to sell his music to a label, saying in the same AMA that “this is the future” and that one day “all artists will be free”.

Label or no, the self-proclaimed “Kanye’s Best Prodigy” brings a hefty feature list with him on this effort. “Mixtape” with Young Thug is spastic fun. Thugger and Lil Yatchy go off on a cut that sounds like it would have been at home on “Slime Season 3”. By questioning the rap games love for mixtapes, Chance professes his own.

Chi-town artist Saba helps out on the chorus of the previously 00released “Angels”. Justin Bieber makes an appearance on “Juke Jam”, a subtle feature that compliments Chances R&B side. The duo sing a simple slow jam that brings to mind an image of a couple   meeting up at the local skating rink.

Chance wouldn’t be a proper apprentice of Kanye if he didn’t feature any gospel sounds. Kirk Franklin makes an appearance on “Finish Line”. In proper Kanye-esque fashion though it’s immediately after the Future assisted “Smoke Break”. “How Great” is also steeped in religious references even after the choir dies out. No matter the subject, Chance keeps a tight rhyming scheme, switching between couplets and a reflexive monorhyme. I swear this guy even uses a terza rima tercet rhyming pattern.

Production on this record is mostly handled in house and is credited to Chance’s group The Social Experiment with a few sprinkles of Kanye West. Electronic artist Kaytranada does work on “All Night” though.

If you haven’t taken the opportunity to get to know the best young rapper from the Chi, go to Spotify and check the kid out. His music is free and dropped on Spotify today after enjoying the first two weeks as an Apple Music exclusive.

In Coloring Book, Chance is a father who is more concerned with cleaning up the streets of Chicago so his daughter can halve somewhere to play than dropping acid. His sound is a reminder that growing up doesn’t have to be boring.

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