Words by Rohit S. Loomba (@poombster)
It’s not every day that Chicago’s Loop and Gold Coast have rap artwork at every bus stop. But that’s exactly what Chance the Rapper did. Having immersed the city in his music over the last few years, Chance took to plastering the city in the artwork for Coloring Book. A well-executed marketing strategy and well received collaborations have helped fueled Chance’s efforts, creating quite a large buzz around his project. A hype that the mixtape lives up to.
Production on Coloring Book is dominated by The Social Experiment, who are credited on 8 of the mixtape’s 14 tracks. Other production comes from Brasstracks, Francis and the Lights, Jordan Ware, Lido, Stix, CBMIX, Rascal, Peter Cottontale, Kaytrandea, GARREN, and Cam O’Bi. This team of prodcuers crafts jazzy, gospel inspired production that is refreshing and unique. “All We Got” sets off Coloring Book with imposing strings coupled with trumpets and subdued drum line. Elsewhere on “Summer Friends” the production takes a more bare, simplistic approach. Some well used samples are used on Coloring Book. “Juke Jam” samples Mount Kimbie’s “Adriatic” while “How Great” borrows from Chris Tomlin’s “How Great is Our God” and Five Stairsteps and Cubie’s “The New Dance Craze”.
Chance has a unique character to his voice which has not changed on Coloring Book. He also demonstrates versatility in his delivery, using different styles throughout the course of the mixtape. The lyrical content here is meant to invoke thought and goes beyond the simple themes of much of today’s Hip-Hop. Features are abundant. Chance is joined by Kanye West, Lil Wayne, 2 Chainz, Jeremih, Young Thug, Lil Yachty, Saba, Just Bieber, Jay Electronica, Future, T-Pain, Kirk Franklin, Ty Dolla $ign, and the Chicago Children’s Choir. The features complement Chance nicely without overtaking him.
Chance has been able to revolutionize the independent Hip-Hop approach with well-produced tracks featuring thoughtful lyrics. He has garnered a great deal of respect from other artists as well as a large variety of fans. Coloring Book is a solid release that demonstrates maturation in Chance’s music and business. The opportunities for Chance are endless and it is entirely up to him to shape his legacy.
4 (out of 5)