“Chance 3” combines rap with gospel music
THE SANTA CLARA
May 19, 2016
Mirroring how he greeted us on his critically acclaimed 2013 mixtape “Acid Rap,” Chance the Rapper chants the same line on the introductory track of his third mixtape “Coloring Book,” which was released to Apple Music on May 12.
More polished than his debut mixtape “10 Day” and more thematically daring than the crowd-pleasing “Acid Rap,” “Coloring Book” sees Chancelor Bennett maturing as a lyricist and experimenting as a musician.
The undisputed stand-out on the album is “No Problem,” which is Chance’s most catchy, radio-friendly song to date. The hook is frustratingly infectious and Chance’s manic energy highlights the song’s message of fighting back against authority— authority being the record labels that try to mess with his music.
Although the featured verses from 2 Chainz and Lil Wayne are somewhat underwhelming, both artists’ mellow delivery is a nice change of pace from their typical spastic spitting.
The foreseeable fan favorite on the album is “All Night,” which discusses Chance’s newfound fame and the various freeloaders who try to ride his coattails.
The pulsing summer anthem reminds me of Robin Thicke’s similarly saucy 2013 hit “Blurred Lines” and uses hip-swaying percussion and brass to give the song some salsa influence.
Though the mixtape contains a whole host of other genre influences—namely Chicago jazz, soul and smooth R&B—”Coloring Book” is primarily a gospel album, as most songs contain references to God and many contain the vocal accompaniment of a choir.
“Blessings” features the refrain “When the blessings go up, the praises come down” and witnesses Chance talk about the the various gifts God has given him. Similarly, on “How Great” Chance boasts, “I don’t believe in science, I believe in signs.”
It’s daring to be so unapologetically Christian—especially when religious freedom is such a controversial topic—but Chance never bites off more than he can chew. His pious messages inspire without sounding preachy and his optimism is a breath of fresh air in a society where cynicism and nihilism are in vogue.
My personal favorite track is “Finish Line/Drown” which is not only Chance’s ultimate gospel song, but the ultimate Chance song in general.
All the genre influences can be heard and the themes—perpetual adolescence, drug use, faith and stardom—are Chance’s most rich and engaging.
It’s a sprawling, six minute and forty six second masterpiece with top-notch features—particularly from Noname, who carries the second half of the song with her hypnotizing, relaxed rapping. Expect this track to go down as Chance’s most praised song to date.
Chance’s “Coloring Book” is a gorgeous cocktail of powerful themes and complex beats. Its effortless composition and mellow sound combines old school and new school. The mixtape can be enjoyed by everyone from crotchety jazz cats to kids stuck in suburbia.
In “Coloring Book,” Chance tells us he’s back. But the truth is, he never left. With his Earth-shattering verse on Kanye’s “Ultralight Beam” and his career-defining work on 2015’s “Surf,” Chance proved to us that he is here to stay.
All we’re left wondering is, “What’s next?”
Contact Jimmy Flynn at email@example.com or call (408) 554-4852.