Photo Credit: Live Nation
After a dry spell of three years, Chance the Rapper is now back and better than ever. His new mixtape Coloring Book dropped on Apple Music and then later on Soundcloud. Just the title alone reminds the listener of their childhood, trying desperately to color within the lines with Crayola crayons. The whole album is reminiscent of his adolescence, filled to the brim with nostalgia. Aside from talking about his family and friends that he grew up with, Chance really focuses on religion and the importance it has in his current life.
Chance starts off strong with his song “All We Got” featuring the one and only Kanye West. The first line has a big presence: “This ain’t no intro, it’s the entree.” When listening, my expectations of what was to come were at an all time high. Nevertheless, Chance surpassed my expectations with every one of his songs.
Religion in the music industry usually isn’t that prominent in the rap genre, but Chance successfully manages to merge his unique and recognized style with spiritually. Several of his songs such as “Blessings” integrate church choirs, which bring layered harmonies and a euphoric feeling to the music. Chance also uses his signature rhythm and cadence to voice lyrics that makes the listener feel like they’re in church, being surrounded by endless love and praise.
The entire mixtape tells, the story of Chance’s life so far, from childhood antics in “Summer Friends” to a his love for his baby daughter in “Angels.” One of my favorite situational tracks would be “Juke Jam” because it reminds you of going to the roller rink on a casual date, of your first relationship, of your first everything. When listening, I feel like I should be eating fries at a drive-in movie theater. “D.R.A.M. Sings Special” makes me feel appreciated and reassured, like a grandma’s hug. The song is like a family gathering, with comfort food and loved ones. It’s a smooth transition between upbeat rap songs which makes for a nice relaxation in the album.
The most nostalgic song off the mixtape for me would be “Finish Line,” probably because the intro is like an R&B style version of the “Doug” theme song. The beginning hum reminds me of sitting around the TV with my brother and watching cartoons. It brings about memories of family and togetherness. The male backing vocals are empowering but at the same time gentle. A resonating and repeated line from the song goes “All my days I prayed and prayed and now I see the finish line.” It’s Chance’s message to his listeners about why religious devotion is worth it because it joins people together.
From his humble beginnings with 10 Day, Chance the Rapper is conveying his message of love and unity through music and performance. Now with Coloring Book, Chance delivers meaningful lyrics with personal stories behind them.