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#18 Chance The Rapper


Lyrics 8

"I don't make songs for free, I make em for freedom, don't believe in Kings, I believe in the Kingdom." Chance can spit… and not wack in any way imaginable… yet he hasn’t to this point given us a reason to really respect his pen, not at least in comparison to his message and overall performance. Yes his feature on UltraLight Beams has some impressive word play and his second release Acid Rap deals with complexities to say the least, however the latter may be just that straightforward considering he’s a free spirit with a clear admiration for drugs (all good with me). His biggest admirers will tell you he’s speaking from a place of divine intervention, yet seasoned Hip Hop fans are likely holding on to that praise in their back pocket, that is until his pen catches up to all the hype around him.

Delivery 9

"We the number one gentrified, run inside gimme my land, the new Chi tits perky, face lift and makeshift spaces, invest the rest in a number 25 Knicks jersey." One of his better features, and not because he can really do all that much with it, but more so how he uses it so effortlessly to make sure the simplicity of his lyrics have maximum impact. Chance feels incredibly natural on an instrumental, and has truly mastered the concept of less is more, as more often then not he seems to do a lot with so little. In fact when you look at his latest effort Coloring Book you’ll notice on various records the tempo changes but his delivery stay mostly the same, regardless if he’s speeding it up on No Problem or slowing it down on Blessings, Chance stays right in his wheelhouse never going beneath or beyond it. Either way his delivery’s often perfect for the songs he’s on, and his live performances are also worthy of praise.

Structure/Songwriting 10

"You had a *****, I couldn't stand him, but when they play Take You Down, Chris Brown, I am his stand in." This is one area where Chance truly excels, as this is his bread and butter and a big reason why Coloring Book is so enjoyable to listen to. Mainly for their simplicity, songs like Blessings, Juke Jam, and All Night are all exceptional records, and from top to bottom there’s really creative cohesion throughout the entire project. Acid Rap was far more of an acquired taste however, with conceptual records that were much less easier on the ears. Yet if the more recent Coloring Book is indicative of what’s to come, there will be many more great songs that Chance will be rapping on in the future.

Content/Meaning 9

"I speak of promised lands, soil as soft as momma's hands, running water, standing still, endless fields of daffodils, and chamomile" Chance has always had incredible meaning in his music, that’s just the type of artist he is. While Acid Rap is mostly up to interpretation Coloring Book has a theme that’s far more relatable, with content brimming with inspiration complete with rhythmical blessings and prayers. In fact it’s almost reminiscent to a Gospel album equipped with a choir and more, which is unique to Hip Hop only to an extent, considering there’s an entire subgenre dedicated to that cause and many mainstream artists have borrowed that sound as well. Therefore it is somewhat perplexing that the media is so blown away by it’s artistry (Metacritic has it ranked as one of the Top 10 Hip Hop releases of all time), when even his big homie J Cole used a choir all the way throughout Born Sinner, perhaps even more appropriately considering it’s theme and to that regard even more of a dramatic effect.

Self Made 8

"Damn that acid burn when it clean ya, I still miss being a senior, and performing at all those open mic events, high schools eyes closed seeing arenas." This category is an interesting one when it comes to Chance, considering while he’s definitely a household name despite only one real celebrated project, that same body of work is littered with more features than the verses by Chance himself, literally. 14 records and 20 features, and considering Chance isn’t behind the production it’s fair to say he’s only about 1/3 of the entire project all together. In any case the production he relies on is from his in-house band The Social Experiment, and on his last release it was a cohesive sound that really worked.

Image/Branding 9

"Wore my feelings on my sleeveless, my weed seedless, my trees leafless, I miss my diagonal grilled cheeses, and back when Mike Jackson was still Jesus." This is an area where Chance is clearly doing something right. Considering his last release is his only real claim to fame it’s nothing short of incredible what Chance has done with his brand. Making himself the new spokesman for the city of Chicago, a city that’s dominated the news cycle for too long for it’s unprecedented violence, Chance is thought of as the golden child who can gear the city towards a wave of positivity. The new media darling who's the voice of the young people, Chance is as marketable as any other artist in Hip Hop.

Sales 6

"Not me though, bitch you can keep those, boy I'm at your head like Craig did Deebo." Another interesting category in regards to Chance, as inspired by his mentor Kanye West he decided to not put Coloring Book out for sale, despite the amount of anticipation there was before it released. There were billboards, television ads, and promo flyers that practically painted his hometown red, yet despite all the commotion Chance rather suspiciously didn’t want to gage his value with sales, deciding he’d be better represented by simply being evaluated off internet streams. With that in mind it was no surprise when Chance broke another dubious streaming record, yet when equated to sales it was reported (rather quietly) that the album only moved 35K in its first week.

Ability to Rock an Instrumental at a Radio Station 7

"I'm off the top like a confiscated hat, they took it back like we confiscating that, can I get it, wait I'm skating back down the rail, tell him if he's ever been to hell, holy grail, got all these ***** looking for, I ain't looking for it, for a magazine, or a cover of Forbes, I don't need to afford a Ford car that I can ride through, switch on the doors..." Chance is not the artist you think of when you want to hear fire verses over random instrumentals, yet in fairness he can hold his own, proven with a freestyle on Sway in the Morning - no matter if it’s the same material that would show up on Acid Rap a few weeks later.

Ability To Fuck Up A Rewind Button 7

"And I'm supposed to father my daughter, she's the Princess in the dragons lair, I'm a dragon slayer, I can't fly away, to some hideaway, I gotta find a way"…. that's fire but for the most part not really… Chance really isn’t good for that, he’s just not that type of artist. That’s not to say he doesn’t snap from time to time, yet in coordination with his best qualities there’s a far more likelihood that you’ll run his records back more than the actual rhymes, which is a hardly a detriment to him as an artist as opposed to just a fair evaluation of his skill set.

Longevity 8

"I'm pre-currency post-language, anti-label pro-famous, I'm Broadway Joe Namath, Kanye's best prodigy, he ain't signed me but he's proud of me." His career thus far has made it very difficult to predict whether or not Chance’s popularity will last. Today it looks as if he has the potential to be a future superstar, yet since Chance hasn't given his fans the chance to validate his worth with their wallets, there’s left an uncertainty in regards to whether he’ll make an impact on the real world or if it will all just be internet noise.

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