Let’s get lost…

Chano, Chatham’s own, Chancelor Bennett, Chance The Rapper are all the names of the Chicago-originated independent rapper, who was propelled to notoriety following the release of his second mixtape, Acid Rap.

But what’s so cool about this mixtape? It’s filled with mentions to Chance’s affinity to acid and weed, for starters.

But what jumps out instantly is the raspy, high pitch voice and the repeated, entertaining ad-lib IGH! that’s spread all over the album.

We can go from the first track, Good Ass Intro, a great homage to Kanye West’s intro to his I’m Good mixtape. However, it’s the type of homage that counts more as an improvement on the original. It’s quite well orchestrated and has a killer female choir backing his verses up. The more dreamy Pusha Man follows, featuring the well-known Nate Dogg, which fades away from its organ licks to the slightly hidden and heartfelt Paranoia, a track about the brutality of Chicago’s neighborhoods, Chance’s place of origin. It’s as serious as the album gets, but boy, does it hit hard for how raw it feels.

But while he takes the time to preach about the violence in the streets of Chicago, he doesn’t forget about his own family in Cocoa Butter Kisses, where he reminisces about how he misses his mother’s kisses with the company of frequent collaborator Vic Mensa, also from Chicago, and hip-hop household lightning-fast Twista, backed up by a beat that’s fresh, summery and well-balanced.

Chano’s arsenal doesn’t stop at rapping, though. The biggest display of this is probably Interlude (That’s Love), the mid-point of the album, a short but sweet track about – drum-rolls – love of all kinds. But one can turn to most of the tracks and notice that Chance really has a knack for melody and complementing his rapping with soulful, purposeful singing, which is less commonly done with taste than one might think.

The second half of the album is admittedly, in my opinion, not as strong as the first leading up to the interlude, but it’s also filled with solid tracks – Favorite Song, featuring Childish Gambino and Chain Smoker are also highlights.

Have a listen, because happiness and relaxation are aplenty.

Monk Xavier

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