Chance, Coloring Book, & Fatherhood
Updated: Apr 4
By: Stephen J. Frias
Chance the Rapper has previously released two critically acclaimed mixtapes. His most recent tape, Coloring Book, is undoubtedly his greatest in both lyrics, scope, & complexity. He is probably the greatest musical artist to come out Chicago since Kanye (sorry Chief Keef fans). I mean, honestly, he might be the greatest person to come out Chicago ever. Chance is also now a father & let’s be real, if anyone should be having babies it’s someone like Chance. What I’m really saying is that Blue, Nori & Chance’s daughter need to bring Destiny’s Child back—no, CHARLIE’S ANGELS. Yes, yes, yes, I’m so in on this. It’ll be called Chance’s Angels though, & their theme song will be Angels. Wow, sorry, I’ll try & edit this out later. Did I mention he’s only twenty-three years old by the way? Twenty. Three. I think my greatest accomplishment at twenty-three was knowing how to dougie. In all seriousness, this is a very special record. This is Bruce Leroy defeating the Shogun level music. There’s been so, so much amazing music out these past few weeks, between Kanye, Queen Bey, Drake, Radiohead, etc, but none got the glow (again, sorry to you Chief Keef fans) like Chance does right now. Ya’ll know the drill, let’s do it.
All We Got
Three bars in & this goddamn twenty-three year old is teaching y’all how to be real men & fathers. “Man, my daughter couldn’t have a better mother/ If she ever find another, he better love her.” All power to the most high, his partner & child. This is so minor, but that line, if she ever find another, he better love her, do you even realize how big of shift that is, especially in rap? Rap, where rappers constantly feel the need to own their women in their verses, we got Chance here, putting his woman over him, so much so that even if for whatever reason they don’t stay together, all he cares about is that the next guy loves her. It shouldn’t be this crazy of an idea, but for Chance to spit this verse as the entree to his record is very important. What makes Chance such a prolific rapper is just how easily he can subvert rapper stereotypes, like machismo misogyny, & turn them on their head.
Did I mention Kanye is on this record? Because he is & Kanye is always a welcome addition to anything (shout out to that new Schoolboy Q joint THat Part). What I find most interesting, is just how influential being a father has been to these two guys. They are so open & bare-chested with these sentiments that just aren’t so readily expressed in hip-hop. Yet, even with that, they still come out with this bombastic beat & hook (there are more than one it feels like) at the end, We know, we know we got it/We know, we know we got it/We know, we know we got it/We know, we know we got it. If you don’t break out in song with them by the end of this track I’ve got nothing for you. What I’m saying is you’re basically not human. Sorry (not really).
This song is filthy. It’s so overwhelmingly disgusting. It’s like he just hit the game winning grand slam & is doing his championship trot around the bases—except it’s only the second inning. But screw it, because not even a full 24hours later I can undoubtedly say Chance is winning this game. Trust. I mean do you want some dread-headed niggas in ya lobby, or worse crazy Weezy fans waitin’ in the lobby. Speaking of Weezy, Chance is so amazingly spectacular that his music brought the reanimated corpse of Lil Wayne back from the dead. Game of Thrones spoiler: Chance the Rapper is R’hllor & he’s the one that brought back Jon Snow.
The first time I fully understood just how talented & important Chance is to rap was on the song Pusha Man/Paranoia off his Acid Rap tape. The last few lines of it, Cause everybody dies in the summer. Wanna say ya goodbyes, tell them while it’s spring. I heard everybody’s dying in the summer, So pray to God for a little more spring.
hit me so hard. Growing up I can’t say I lived in a rough neighborhood, by any means, but I frequented them for sure & one thing that I always knew was that the summer somehow brought out the worst in people. I don’t know if it was the heat, or just being outside & crowded, or maybe just chance, but the summer was in many ways a dangerous season in the hood. To say the least, Pusha Man/Paranoia was at the same time an amazingly fun song, but also blatantly bleak. I feel like Summer Friends calls back to this song, but flips it on it’s head. It starts off with a hook of “Summer friends don’t stay/Summer friends don’t stay around,” but there’s an important transition two-thirds of the way through the song where a woman literally recites a prayer. At that point, the entire song becomes a prayer. A prayer for friends (those that died & otherwise), but also a prayer for change. I think it shows the change in Chance’s perspective & outlook. He’s been very vocal about trying to end the violence in Chicago. This song furthers that cause. “Even when I changed, a nigga never changed up/I always bring my friends, my friends, my friends, my friends up.” Bless the dead.
D.R.A.M. Sings Special
Just D.R.A.M. doing D.R.A.M. things. Don’t ever forget you special.
I imagine that because of how popping the rest of this record is, Same Drugs might get overlooked. The song is a masterpiece. This is a fact. It captures nostalgia & the sense of growing up so well. It’s also just a statement on how he’s changed, especially between Acid Rap & now. The latter half of the song is also just pure bliss. I can’t even properly explain it. Don’t forget the happy thoughts...stay in the lines dandelion.
THUGGER & YACHTY. FAM. COME ON. NOT TO MENTION, CHANCE STARTING OFF THE SONG & USING THEIR SAME FLOW EVEN BETTER THAN THEY CAN?! BRUH IM OUT.
And I’m back in. Why? Because this is the greatest song of all time, all time. I mean, at the very least, today it definitely is. But for real, for real. I don’t remember this song being so amazing when it first came out last year. I don’t know many songs that make me subconsciously start smiling when I listen to them. This is one of those songs. This that bravado boasting bumping rap we’ve always loved from Chance. Someone gotta sign Saba & by sign him, I mean he should stay independent like Chance & run the game with him. I love these two together. For those wondering, I will be actively trying to incorporate “Woo wap da bam” into my lexicon. Believe that.
I’m a Belieber. I said it. I’ve been since he dropped Journals back in like 2013. Do you want to know what was the first song I heard from Journals? Confident. Do you know who was featured on that track? CHANCE bro, CHANCE. What more do I have to say? I’ll see you at the roller rink where I’ll be bumping to this track for hours on end, trying to seduce my girlfriend in front of children because that’s what “what grown folks do/When they grown and they dating.” Thanks Chance.
I’m not even sure how to sell this song to you. Do you like shaking your butt & having fun? You do? Great, this is the song for you. I know I’ll be dancing to this in the mirror by myself for weeks on end.
I can’t speak on religion much anymore (nine years of Catholic school will entirely numb you to anything remotely pious), but seriously how great is Chance? This is the first time I’ve ever heard Jay Electronica spit a good verse. Honestly, it’s not even good, that verse is spectacular & I can’t stand Jay Electronica. I thank Chance for bringing that out of him (too bad he’s probably just gonna crawl back into his cave after this only to come out every few months to try & call out Kendrick, again).
At its foundation it’s a touching love story to his girl. It’s also got Future though, so it multiplies the awesomeness of this song by like 30%, at least.
Finish Line is the hero’s journey track. It recounts everything that Chance went through to get where he is now. I want to live in this song. The production kind of just fills your heart with pure happiness. That’s the only way I can explain it. It’s the kind of feel good song that you don’t hear as much any more. I’m constantly catching myself singing that little Do-do-do-do-do-do-do/Do-do-do-do-do hook it has. Also, it’s always good to hear T-Pain actually singing on a track. He’s much better than people give him credit for. Drown is fire because Noname Gypsy is fire. I really hope she starts getting more exposure. She’s such an amazing lyricist, & she really shines on this song. Just look at her first three lines, “Lord rain down on me so I can move on water/Like children at the altar, like God inside my house/I love you, I love you, you looking holy like Mama.” Look at that internal, unorthodox rhyme scheme! It’s little lines like that that shoot this song up to one thousand.
Blessings (take 2)
Sometimes I wish I still spoke to God in public. Chance will have to suffice. Chance & Thanksgiving prayers at abuela’s. Are you ready for your miracle?