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Tarantino's Thoughts:


Ratchetness meets righteousness.  This Is Chance the Rapper, this is Coloring book.  Sort of like a premonition (after witnessing Chance on Jimmy Fallon perform “Blessings” of course); I personally sent out a tweet stating: “I'm starting to believe Chance is a gospel rapper …”.  I must admit, I didn't know much about the guy except for the feature on “TLOPablo” and of course witnessing “Blessings” being performed live.  To the naked untrained eye, anyone could make such a premature assumption based on those examples.  But in rightful twitter fashion, folks quickly shot me down and persuasively recommended that I listen to Chance's older material (fair enough).  In true journalistic fashion, I took to google and searched “Chance the Rapper”.  Amid ultimate serendipity, not only did I begin to learn about Chance, but I was also pointed in the direction of the unique project entitled Acid Rap. Headphones locked, I soon began to shy away from my previous statement with every revivifying lyric, and energizing ad-lib.  Instantly sold, I now anticipated what we've all come to know as Coloring Book.


Identical to a slap in the face, Coloring Book opens equivalent to a heavenly million man march as Kanye and choir promenade alongside the rapper.  Still beaming, Chance delivers the gospel in the form of rap (I knew it), preaching:


“I get my word from the sermon, I do not talk to the serpent … I was baptized like real early, I might give Satan a swirly”. 


“Kanye's best prodigy, he ain't sign me but he proud of me”–unequivocally matched in ideation, Coloring Book plays as more of a gospel album than TLOP ever did.  Even when Chance milly-rocks and scoops up all the blessings on “No problem”, he easily proves ratchetness and righteousness are like yin and yang.  















Sticking to the script, “Blessings” (track 4) a jazz infused gospel negro spiritual; Chance speaks of the obvious while managing to remain secular through introspection rapping: “ Ain't no blood on my money, ain't no twitter in heaven/I know them drugs isn't close … I know the difference in blessings, and worldly possessions … I'm at war with my wrongs … ”.  Still singing praise, backed by acoustic piano, the chi-town native delivers “Same Drugs” pulling away from his Acid Rap days.  Almost as if a devil and angel rest on his shoulders; “Mixtape” travels down a different road as the Rapper ironically enlists Young Thug and Lil Yachty as features after spitting, “All I can hear is the 30 … We don't know none of your words” (go figure).  “I swear that I'm the only nigga that still care about Mixtapes, Bad lil bitch wanna' know how her lips taste”–fortunately, for Chance, the song (and mixtapes) bang hard enough to seek spiritual forgiveness later.  

Possibly one of the most sought out unsigned artist, Chance must really have “Angels” guiding his illustrious career thus far.  Practically showing off with Justin Bieber returning the favor via feature– think “Confident” (actually the first time I ever heard Chance)–“Juke Jam” embodies balance.  Chance reminisces, through bedroom eyes and pliable ballad, on roller rink rallies as an adolescent.  Paying homage to Chicago House, “All Night” makes you move your body even if you have two left feet.  


Party on Saturday, church on Sunday; “How Great” unfolds with a nearly 3-minute long vocoder permeated Sunday morning worship service.  Clearly touched by the Holy spirit, Chance delivers his verse similar to speaking in tongues, dropping quotable after quotable alongside a rare Jay Electronica feat.  Somehow misplaced, “Smoke Break” comes up big in the midst of praise, worship, and choir rehearsal.  Kirk Franklin being absolutely necessary for the album, Chance is yet again backed by choir singing, “Take me to your mountain, so someday Chicago will be free”; sending out the most important request … praying for peace in Chi-Raq.  “I speak to God in public, he keeps my rhymes encompassed/He think the new shit jam, I think we mutual fans”–“Blessings” (Part 2) closes the album summing up everything “Coloring Book” exemplifies … choirs, sermons, and more choirs.  

In spite of the heavy gospel monotone, Coloring Book is a work of colorful art.  Shading outside the lines of exceedingly conscious and borderline superficial; the album is much needed in a time of social turmoil.  Never too preachy, Chance indubitably sings praises to the Most High, and delivers powerful collections of cutting edge music; defying Hip-Hop norms.  Even if the gospel isn't your cup of tea, Coloring Book defies the odds and balances perfectly in subject.  If you're like me, you too could have expected this from the 23-year-old MC judging from the year he's had thus far.  Also, if you're like me, you probably didn't expect this based off of his previous work.  Nonetheless, we get to witness Chance creatively mature and speak his truth while skyrocketing to stardom. If you happened to listen and come up a bit confused–it's fine you have no soul–I recommend listening again and hopefully you'll come to appreciate the monumental pinnacle Hip-Hop is once again beginning to reach.  

Peace & Love,
(Darnell Schoolfield)

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