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Chance the Rapper revolutionizes hip-hop sound on “Coloring Book”


Bold statement of the day: Chance the Rapper will be the first independent artist to win a Grammy—not that the 23-year-old artist from Chicago cares too deeply for the award. Nonetheless, it has almost been a week into Chancellor Bennett’s third project, “Coloring Book,” and the record is still radiating waves of soulful music, outstanding beats and striking lyrics.


Giving something back to his fans on “All We Got,” Chance opens his album the same way he did on his sophomore project, “Acid Rap,” by chanting “And we back/And we back…” The lyrics reveal what was happening in Chance’s life around this third mixtape, such as the birth of his daughter, Kinsley Bennett. Three months after his collaboration with Kanye West on “Ultralight Beam,” the Chi-Town duo rekindle on the track to make for a harmonizing, gospel-anthem.


It is hard for a rapper to preach about the gospel, talk about ethical values and not talk about partying or drugs without the work sounding cheesy; however, Chance pulls it off on “Coloring Book.”


Chance’s strength as a musician is his ability to experiment with his vocals through a wide range of sound. He uses harmonic choruses on “Same Drugs” to make a rhythmic serenade for a song about nostalgia. On “Juke Jam” he time travels to his youth with an R&B hook and smooth vocals. “Angels,” which was released as a single leading up to the album, goes far and wide with his yelping rap tone while preaching to his Chi-Town home city.


He uses an alternative electronic beat on “All Night,” produced by Kaytranada, which proves to be one of the grooviest tracks on the. Chance goes in a funk-jazzy style on “Finish Line Drown,” where he give-and-takes from rapping bars to funky vocals. His sending-forth hymn at the end, or “Blessings (Reprised),” has a classic angelic Chance tone to it. The song celebrates the level that he has risen to and he uses spoken word poetry—something he had not done on the entire album.


The uplifting sound of the album can be derived from the religious inspiration that Chance goes by. This is something new that Chance is experimenting with. His first testament to God is on “Blessings,” where he affirms how much religion has impacted his life as an artist.


Bennett’s cousin Nicole chimes in on “How Great,” with a catholic sounding opener to the song. While both these songs have religious references, there are also allusions to the Black Lives Matter movement, such as his verse on “How Great,” “Hosanna Santa invoked and woke up slaves from Southampton to Chatham Manor,” which references Nat Turner’s Slave Rebellion in Southampton County.
While featuring his old buddies on the tape, such as members from The Social Experiment, Chance brings in new artists in “Coloring Book” that he had not worked with before. He teams up with Young Thug and Lil Yachty on “Mixtape” for a trap track on the record. Like “Mixtape,” “Smoke Break” also sounds like a trap-based song with the help of Future and the auto-tune flavor.


Lil Wayne, 2 Chainz, T-Pain, Jeremih and Jay Electronica all make notable appearances throughout the project as well. The impressive features Chance achieves with these new artists is how he adapts to their style of music, while still adding his flair to the track.


One of the most meaningful tracks on the mixtape is “Summer Friends,” or—as some fans like to refer it to as—the unofficial continuation of his song about the violence in Chicago, “Paranoia.” Three years later from “Acid Rap,” the anti-violence campaign that sprung from “Paranoia” still influences the city of Chicago today. In fact, Chance has instigated protests, anti-violence operations and peace programs in the city of Chicago, which is one of the most violent cities in America. “Summer Friends” reflects on Chance’s friends who died in the summer—one of the most violent seasons in Chicago.


His first project, “10 Day,” was a notable freshman job that sounded like a rebellion and a positive insight to who he was as an artist. “Acid Rap” was a drug-filled, unpredictable journey that fit a puzzle of 5,000 pieces perfectly together without one missing part. But, “Coloring Book” is different than his first two mixtapes. The product is so much more uplifting, promising and is in competition with some of the top rap albums out there.


Editor’s note: below are some of my favorite lyrics from the mixtape:


“This ain’t no intro, this the entrée/Hit that intro with Kanye and sound like André.” (All We Got)


“If one more label try to stop me/It’s gon’ be some dreadhead niggas in ya lobby.” (No Problem)


“None of my niggas ain’t had no dad/None of my niggas ain’t have no choice.” (Summer Friends)


“I ain’t felt like this since the third drought, third carter drop/Told my momma third grade I’d be in the third Barbershop.” (Mixtape)


“I got my city doing front flips/When every father, mayor, rapper jump ship/I guess that’s why they call it where I stay/Clean up the streets, so my daughter can have somewhere to play.” (Angels)


“The rink was the place but in that space and time I was too young for you/As you were for me, too worried ’bout Frooties and Chews/’Til I found out all the shawdy’s with cooties was cute/And realized what booties can do.” (Juke Jam)





“Man my daughter couldn’t have a better mother/If she ever find another, he better love her.” (All We Got)


“Kanye’s best prodigy/He ain’t sign me, but he proud of me.” (Blessings, reprise)


Adrian Broaddus may be reached at [email protected]


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About the Contributor
Adrian Broaddus, Sports Editor
Adrian Broaddus is the sports editor for The Prospector. He is a junior multimedia journalism major with a minor in political science.   Adrian was born and raised in El Paso, TX, and is a graduate of Franklin high school. He entered college in the fall of 2015 in hopes to better his career in journalism.   Along with sports, Adrian enjoys writing music reviews, perspective columns and news stories on politics.   Although he is pursuing his degree in journalism, Adrian would like to go to law school and be an attorney while doing part-time work in journalism.  
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Chance the Rapper revolutionizes hip-hop sound on “Coloring Book”