Chance the Rapper - The Big Day

Chance the Rapper
The Big Day

Things are different for Chance the Rapper. In the three years since his transcendent Coloring Book his life has become radically different. Instead of a South Side unsigned gun for hire Chance has become one of the hottest acts in the country without any major label support. This kept him off streaming for awhile but allowed him to avoid any potential Taylor Swift style rights to masters loss issues down the road. He has also accepted a more active role in being a father and if you believe his statement at Kanye West's Sunday Service performance at Coachella is now a Christian rapper. It lead people to speculate that this album was going to be heavy with Christian references, and to my dismay: no cussing. Well I'm here to say that is not entirely the case. The first three tracks feel pretty kidish, which seems to be a tactic almost everyone is trying in 2019. Cute sayings, Cute little rhymes and not much else in terms of content. Then "Hot Shower" comes on and you remember why you love Chance in the first place. This is a big album with almost an hour and twenty minutes and 22 tracks. He is going for a major 90s hip hop theme especially on tracks like "I Got You (Always and Forever)" which can sound a bit derivative and featuring En Vogue is a bit on the nose. Production credits have shifted from the likes of Kanye West to more Indie-Rock style guys. Justin Vernon of Bon Iver, Ben Gibbard of Death Cab as well as Francis and the Lights all feature on the record in tracks that are...odd. The album's title track is the oddest of the bunch with this ecstatic yelling that comes in at one point.

Chance clearly wanted to make something that was going to stand up to being a full album. He wanted this his first "real" album to far more about who He is than any of the mixtapes could ever be. This album casts a wide net, extremely wide, but I think that is kind of the point. Chance is likable, and wants  to be liked. His new vibe is less about ego death and more about celebrating other aspects of being alive. I usually hate this, but Chance manages to make it seem endearing. You find yourself enjoying the experimentation because it feels uniquely his own, not because it bangs or you can imagine it on every radio station for the next year. That is the thing, nothing here really feels like any of the "hits" of Coloring Book, almost like those songs don't even exist anymore. It makes some of the more heavily pop focused tracks like "Ballin Flossin" with Shawn Mendes sound a bit more goofy than they otherwise would. "Get a Bag" is a late stunner, but it gets buried in the sheer amount of music here. I'm of two minds; on one hand I like this record, I like what it represents and the fact that Chance is trying something new for Hip Hop rather than doing what is easy. However there are moments were this album feels a bit childish and lacks the punch you might be looking for. This record is not better than the three that proceeded it and that is shame, but it is good in it's own strange special way.

7.9 out of 10


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