Album Review: Chance the Rapper – “Coloring Book”


Chance the Rapper’s much-anticipated mixtape Coloring Book began with a performance on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert and a front flip that coincided with the release of  the single “Angels”. It’s a masterwork of Chicago hip-hop that’s catchy, danceable, and superlative. So much I’ve thought about front flipping in the shower when it comes on. 

Coloring Book is mature and uplifting and full of amazing surprises, but also didn’t completely have a great array of standout tracks as opposed to Acid Rap where Chance was living freely. It doesn’t suffer from that in the slightest.

What makes this album standout individually from his other tapes is that it’s one of the best gospel-hip-hop albums ever composed. This is shown from front to back with individual standouts like “Summer Friends,” or “Smoke Break.” The latter is a standout track that works both ways. It works as a song that can be used to serenade your girl after a bowl, and it also makes you want to smoke another bowl in the same way “Smoke Again,” seduced you at first.

“How Great,” is one of those tracks with the elusive Jay Electronica. The track serves as a perfect example on how to blend gospel and hip-hop beautifully, which in turn makes up two songs: A gospel song on the lord’s greatness and then Chance and Jay Electronica rap about their doubts and enlightenment through small points in their life. Jay Electronica shines again with more Disney metaphors.

“Same Drugs,” is the definitive point on the album where you realize that this Chance isn’t the druggie Chance we loved on #10Day and Acid Rap, and yet he still remains imperfect. The track details a relationship with a past girl from the neighborhood, but it doubles with those people who’d probably expected something closer to his previous tapes. It’s reflective on the nuanced track, where you start to think and say to yourself, we don’t have curious drug-filled Chance, we have one high off self-worth and love.

On Coloring Book, Chance the Rapper’s third tape, he makes church feel more of a blessing then just the ritual you’ve been succumbed to as a child.  As a child, church was just an establishment for the spiritual and you’re either curious or could care less. Yet as the years progress, church stays in you as a place where everyone is loved. That’s what Chance gives us on this project.

The tracks are built around having faith and loving the lord, despite your multiple imperfections. On this mixtape, Chance’s songs usually take the subject of sex, popping pills and smoking weed, or drinking, only to still hold himself on the path with the lord. It’s a gospel hip-hop mixtape that doesn’t feel too instilled, but is powerfully strong and smartly composed by the 23-year-old rapper. In a way it’s the perfect gospel hip-hop album that is also a perfect blend of everything.

Rating: 10/10

Kevin Montes is one sarcastically satirical dude. He’s usually at home watching hours of comedy and television, primarily Simpsons. Kevin aspires to be a TV writer, a joke writer, and composer for all things Harmony Korine. You can reach him on twitter @iamkevinmontes to further ask about all things Simpsons.