Strolling online for mixtapes is not easy. The problem with finding new music is that it can be hard to filter out the good from the terrible. The trap stars from the lyricists. Sometimes you find a near-perfect rapper who you think is destined for stardom only to disappear quicker than a Steph Curry release (Jon Connor). Other times you catch a rapper after a hot mixtape only to be let down by everything thereafter. I first heard of Chance the Rapper probably about the same time as just about everybody else. I thought his 2013 mixtape, “Acid Rap”, was one of that year’s best but I could not help but to think I would never hear from him again. Everything about him read like a gimmick. His laid back style and nasal tone seemed too much like a lazy rapper who got lucky. Kid Cudi without the stars. Not to mention his name sounds like he should be hanging with Bugs Bunny. When he received endorsement from Kanye, I still didn’t believe because Ye endorses everybody from the Chi. Surprisingly, it was a recent performance on SNL that made me finally open my eyes and say he made it.
With no official studio album to his name, Chance the Rapper’s, “Coloring Book” is a superb mixtape that hits you in so many ways. The soulful production is felt from beginning to end. Kanye makes a guest appearance on “All We Got”. “No Problem” with Weezy and 2 Chainz is a feel good summer jam that should be on many critics top 10 list. Other standouts include the church-ful “Blessings”, “Angels”, and “Luke Jam” which includes a guest chorus by Justin Bieber. The gem of the album is a sleeper hit that will not get any radio spins or club rotations. The first 3 minutes of “How Great” feel like a Sunday visit to your grandma’s church. I promise do not skip because the last 2 minutes are worth it. This song is so spiritual it resurrected Jay Electronica from the dead.
My first impressions of Chance were way off. I did not expect him to make a mixtape this good. Chance the Rapper has become one of the top Hip Hop artist to watch in 2016. His voice may still be annoying sometimes but it blends perfectly with every choir note, organ play and hand clapping used on
“Coloring Book”. A little fine turning, especially with his flow, and Chance the Rapper can be the best rapper to come out of Illinois since Yeezy. “Coloring Book” is my early candidate for mixtape of the year.