Why Aren't You Listening To Chance The Rapper's New Album Right Now?

Photo Credit: Tim Mosenfelder/Getty Images.
If God is a DJ and life is a dance floor, then Chance The Rapper is providing the mixtape. And that mixtape is called Coloring Book.

Coloring Book is the third album from 23-year-old rapper Chancelor Bennett, more commonly known as Chance The Rapper. The highly anticipated album was released Friday, May 13, as a free online mixtape for fans. It was later taken down and moved exclusively to Apple Radio. But starting May 27, just in time for the long weekend, the album will be available on all streaming platforms. It is the first streaming-only album to reach the Billboard 200 albums chart.

And I urge you to go listen. Because if you haven't yet been properly introduced to the musical concept and new-wave genre best described as spiritual rap, hip-hop gospel, and praise pop, it's high time you gave it a try.

Chance is the near perfect blend of seasoned rapper and experimental newbie. The Chicago-native's style is casual and conversational, similar to that of Kid Cudi and Childish Gambino, all three of whom straddle the barrier between rap and pop sounds. His lyrics manage to sound sweet and sing-songy, even when he's talking about doing drugs or getting his girlfriend pregnant.

He's has been in the music game for a while now, but the third time seems to be the charm. With his latest album, he combines and exemplifies the best qualities of the most popular contemporary rappers.
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He's Kanye without all the crazy.

He's Drake without all the tears.

He's Kendrick without all the politics.
With Coloring Book, Chance was able to pull off what Kanye so longed to do with The Life of Pablo. Kanye said that he was trying to make a "gospel album with a whole lot of cursing." And Chance — "Kanye's best prodigy," as Bennett raps on a song — has done just that.

And while Chance's raps shine on their own, his lineup of featured artists is off the charts. Kanye himself, Donnie Trumpet, Lil Wayne, 2 Chainz, Future, T-Pain, and Justin Bieber all make appearances. Alongside this star-studded supporting cast, Chance also incorporates a slew of lesser-known artists, like Towkio, Lil Yachty, and even the Chicago Children's Choir, à la Kanye's "Ultralight Beam."

The New Yorker praises the album for its "sound of hope" and "genre-bending approach to composition and style." The Atlantic notes Chance's optimism for life, and how listeners quickly find themselves smiling while listening to his rhymes.

Chance has fun with his message, combining seemingly unrelated pop culture references into one magical creation. These include the classic children's gospel song "This Little Light of Mine" in "Blessings," references to Harry Potter in "Finish Line/Drown," visits to the Apple Store in the second "Blessings," and a shout-out to Peter Pan in "Same Drugs."

These tokens of nostalgia sprinkled throughout the album contrast with the artist's clear acceptance of getting older, and his embrace of change — growing apart from his crew in "Summer Friends," waving goodbye to the naivety of youth in "Same Drugs," and shifting his plans for the future in "All We Got."

There are plenty of reasons you should download Coloring Book right now, but, like a coloring book, it's all about what you as the listener bring to the mixtape.

So, if you haven't already, it's about time to take a chance on Chance.
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