Releasing his third mixtape entitled ‘Coloring Book’, Chicago’s Chance the Rapper drops his new project with a lineup of colorful features from the likes of Kanye West, Future, Justin Bieber, Jay Electronica and more. An immense follow up to 2013’s breakthrough solo project ‘Acid Rap’, ‘Coloring Book’ delivers throughout the 14-track mixtape, culminating in of the definitive gospel rap albums to date and one of the top rap albums of the year.
The gospel begins with “All We Got,” with Kanye West lending vocals amidst trumpet work reminiscent of pearly gates with a bassline that implores listeners to pause just to feel it, but weighs a ton. Though Kanye’s ‘The Life of Pablo’ was largely professed as a gospel album, ‘Coloring Book’ properly explores the dimensions within rap & gospel, mixing the differing hues of modern hip-hop with conscious-minded bars, melodic delivery, and quotable classics. Just a few notes in, the 23 year old Chancelor Bennet’s drops lines such as “Man, my daughter couldn’t have a better mother / If she ever find another, he better love her” which reflect the refreshing, enlightened tone in which the sermon is preached, or rather, played.
The next track, “No Problem” ft. Lil Wayne and 2 Chainz, delivers the message that Chance is not one to be reckoned with, with the refrain “If one more label try to stop me/ It’s gon’ be some dread headed ni**as in ya lobby” referring to chance’s unique position in the music industry. Restricted to no record label, Chancelor Bennett has released a great deal of his music for free, from throwing free shows in his hometown of Chicago to headlining NY’s Hot 97 Summer Jam, Chance’s demonstrates just how an independent artist can become major without a deal.
Using music as the saving grace, Chance acknowledges his blessings on the track “Angels”, inviting listeners to wear “your halo like a hat, (it’s) like the latest fashion”. Here, Chance dances along the front lines, fusing elements of jazz, reggae, and a tremendous dose of gospel, using steel drums, horns, and doo-wop samples. His spirited recollection of his hometown references the citywide trials of Southside Chicago, revealing "It's too many young angels on the South Side/ Got us scared to let our grandmommas outside..”
Aiming to send listeners past earthly limits, Chance shoots straight to the heavens, constructing a spirited mixtape with tones of genuine gratefulness to a higher being. As the young emcee illuminates with a gospel choir, Chance makes the final declaration that as an emcee, “I don't make songs for free, I sing for freedom," and "Don't believe in kings, believe in the kingdom.
To listen to ‘Coloring’ book, you can download here via Apple Music.