Album: Acid Rap
Artist: Chance the Rapper
Released: April 30, 2013
Acid Rap is up and coming artist Chance the Rapper’s second mixtape but it is by far his best work so far. Acid Rap is as far a cry from the more common gritty and urban hiphop albums that we see from most artists as possible and most of that is because of its creator. Chance is a young artist, barely out of high school when he made this mixtape and his youth shows itself in this album in both positive and negative ways – there is a certainly a youthful optimism to the album as a whole and while that optimism is seasoned by the wistful, if occasionally dark, sorrows of teen life, Acid Rap is nevertheless a smooth, easy flowing project that resembles a pleasant acid trip in oddities and unusualness. However, these very oddities and eccentricities that set the album apart, and arguably, above its contemporaries also occasionally tend to belie a lack of polish on its creator’s part. While Acid Rap is technically a mixtape it has everything you might expect from a major label release with great guest verses from artists like Action Bronson, Childish Gambino and Twista, rounded off by solid production from a team of up and coming producers.
Chance has shown on this record that he most certainly has what it takes to establish himself in the music industry and he does it without trying to be something that he is not. Like most great music, Chance has left plenty of himself and his soul behind in the tracks and as a result, many tracks are wonderfully dense and full of a range of emotion. These varying emotions are displayed on against a canvas of an acid trip as the songs change from the fun-filled to the melancholy to the exuberant. Lyrically, Chance’s style varies as well and not always for the better – he undeniably has the skill to deliver a solid flow, filled with great, quick one-two punchlines but on other tracks he seems sloppy, repetitive and uninspired. A part of this can be attributed to the album’s central concept of an acid trip that full of its highs and lows, and certainly, it is not hard to imagine a mood in which even the slower paced, occasionally inane tracks might have their own place, but these tracks tend to detract from the album as a whole and as a result some sections of the album feel all together forgettable. The lyrical lows of the album are well compensated however, by a strong, nostalgic sound that gives the album coherence. There is a musical motif in that nostalgia that brings tracks like the bittersweet dual track ‘Pusha Man/Paranoia’ and the hype of tracks like ‘Favorite Song’, featuring a swaggering Childish Gambino. In fact, the guest verses often seem like anchors for fans of more conventional hiphop as they bring a more easily accessible flow and verse structure. Beyond that, the guest verses themselves are excellent – Twista’s trademark machine-gun flow in ‘Cocoa Butter Kisses’ and Action Bronson’s typical culinary shoutouts in ‘NaNa’ both stand out and have great replay value.
Ultimately, Acid Rap is definitely not an album for everyone; it is hard to imagine a forty year old family man playing this in his car, for example. There is a carefree youthfulness to this album that will make some dismiss it as flippant and insincere or as just a ‘party album’. It is neither of these things yet at the same time it lacks the gravitas of an album put out by more worldly creator. Furthermore, Chance the Rapper’s lyrical style and half-rapping, half-singing style might not suit everyone either but regardless of your own personal tastes, there can be no denying that this mixtape is the unveiling of one of hiphop’s newest stars.
Good Ass Intro
Cocoa Butter Kisses
|Good Ass Intro||Peter Cottontale, Cam, Stefan Ponce||5|
|Pusha Man/Paranoia||Nosaj Thing||5|
|Cocoa Butter Kisses||Peter Cottontale, Cam||5|
|Everybody’s Something||DJ Ozone||3|
|That’s Love||Ludwig Goransson||3.75|
|Favorite Song||Nate Fox||4.5|
|Smoke Again||Blended Babies||3.75|
|Acid Rain||Jake One||3.75|
|Chain Smoker||Nate Fox||3|