Fans received an unexpected gift from their favorite Windy City star with a long-awaited release from Chance the Rapper on Thursday. They can finally rest easy as the three-year wait came to a close with his latest mixtape “Coloring Book.”
“Coloring Book” is a 14-song discovery of rich music, taking one on a journey through sounds of hip-hop, gospel, soul and doo-wop. He utilizes variations of jazz, classical orchestra and caribbean music.
Chance makes music for the people. “Coloring Book” is like “Surf,” a magnificent album released with co-producer and friend, Donnie Trumpet (aka Nico Segal) in 2015. Trumpet plays a major role in the rapper’s style when it comes to performing songs like “Blessings.” Together, they’ve illuminated a wide variety of artists such as New York rapper and producer J. Cole, Busta Rhymes and Janelle Monet.
Chance is melodically sequences together to create unusual sounds while producing something both new and refreshing, therefore his music remains spontaneous.
“Finish Line/Drown” merges the talents of hip-hop veteran T-Pain performing the hook, vocalist and pianist Eryn Allen Kane on the bridge and backed up by gospel singer Kirk Franklin and his spectacular choir. The track is phenomenal. It is the perfect way to mix genres like gospel and hip-hop and to structure it in a way that it complements each other. Kirk’s gospel influences Eryn Allen Kane’s rendition of classical doo-wop and puts its own identity on this mixtape.
What makes Chance the Rapper so fearless is the fact that he allows his personal barriers to be broken and seeps it all into his work. In Blessings, Chance illustrates his newfound feelings about fatherhood, the conflicting thoughts he has with his hometown Chicago, where he lost many friends to violence and addiction, and is concerned about his own child’s safety. He presents conflict in choosing between his family or the city, both of which he dearly loves. One can listen to his personal views on tracks like “Same Drugs,” “Blessings” and “Summer Friends.”
The track that seems lackluster compared to the rest of the project is ironically titled “Mixtape,” featuring cash money records artist Yung Thug, along with an up-and-coming artist, Lil Yachty. While it is a catchy song to have fun to, it’s unnecessary and a song that is desperately trying to capture the attention of a different audience that is unrelated to Chance’s core listeners.
Chance has definitely outgrown his immature work from “10 Day” (2012) and has perfected a sound that was tested in his critically acclaimed mixtape “Acid Rap” (2013).
Overall this project is a breath of fresh air in a genre that rarely ever changes its formula. All together, “Coloring Book” makes me feel like I’m a kid again being forced to go to Sunday morning church with my grandmother and ultimately loving it because of the music.
If you find yourself short a buck to get this mixtape don’t worry it’s free. As the Chicago rapper has said before on numerous platforms: “it’s yours” on Chanceraps.com or through Apple Music. It will be released on all other streaming networks in the coming weeks.