Beginning his 2016 as the underdog fellow-Chicagoan Kanye protege, if you didn’t fall a bit for Chance The Rapper’s wide-eyed sincerity and song stealing bars on ‘Ultralight beam’, Chances (I swear that was unintended) are his newly released third mixtape Coloring Book will leave you feeling nothing less than aurally cleansed.
Chance The Rapper’s hip hop is holy on Coloring Book, a sonic illustration recounting his spiritual being, poetically coded brain, and the power of positive hip hop, all wrapped up into a proclamation of black joy; his well-rounded charisma never falling short once in it’s fourteen lucent tracks. The gospel influence from ‘Ultralight Beam’ and jazz guidance of Chance’s The Social Experiment band’s 2015 album Surf, are preserved on Coloring Book in such a way that feels like the final mystery puzzle piece to Chance’s genius — curating a hip hop sound confined only to pure elevation and feelings of uplift.
Chance’s keen eye for collaborative talent is a key part of what makes his heavily featured tracklists run so smoothly and it’s no different on Coloring Book. The collaborations are carefully curated and a balance is found between showcasing new spotlighted rappers among Young Thug and Lil Yachty on ‘Mixtape’, as well as scoring his hometown hero Kanye West on a track of his own this time with ‘All We Got’ along with familiar cemented hip hop voices such as T-Pain and Kirk Franklin on ‘Finish Line’. Despite their number, his collaborations never once steal his own thunder and instead compliment and highlight Chance’s vision whilst always having everyone’s best interests at heart.
In one of his most true to soul, free flowing moments, on final track ‘Blessings’, Chance speaks with vulnerability as he reveals to his audience, ‘I speak to god in public’. It’s a rational sentiment which speaks for itself over the entire course of the mixtape, and seems to roughly translate to Chance proclaiming his perspicuous truths to us: the listeners and the learners.
Words: Laura McInnes