I will level with you: I slept on Chance The Rapper. I slept on him for longer than I’d probably like to admit. I missed the 10 Day mixtape, regardless of all the coverage it got, and that’s something I really cannot explain. As I take my initial dip into Acid Rap, amid all the talk on Twitter, and I have some time to come up with my own opinions, I can say, as a relatively new listener, this is good. On the same track (“Pusha Man”), he can seem like a stand up comedian and a political-conscious beatnik; take note aspiring rappers, that’s versatility. A good piece of music should make a listener not only feel one or two feelings, but a multitude of feelings, and that’s something that 20-year-old Chance Bennett has nailed down early.
Acid Rap is a mixtape, err, album, but it’s not a meek collection of singles put together in one .zip file and forced onto the Internet; it is a clean, well machinated, thirteen track project. In his sophomore effort, he has managed to assert himself as a wordplay fiend- one listen through “Juice” will have your head spinning as you’re trying to figure out a line that he said thirty seconds ago- but on the flip side he comes off as worldly on tracks like “Lost” and political on tracks like “Everybody’s Something”. Given all of that, it’s no surprise that he’s recruited guys like Action Bronson, who seems to be all about fun wordplay, B.J. The Chicago Kid, who always has something to say, and Ab-Soul, who could run for president on the platform of his raps. But taking a step back, this is Chance’s project. So let’s get down and dirty with this bad boy.
When I imported Acid Rap into my iTunes, got into album view, and looked at the nice looking purple background that accompanied the album artwork and the thirteen tracks, I hit click on the first track, “Good Ass Intro”. A few things piqued my interest, the first of which being the fact that Chance called his first track on his album “Good Ass Intro”. If you call your first track “Good Ass Intro”, it better show and prove, and what do you know, Chance The Rapper managed to make a good ass intro. The first words are “Even better than I was the last time”, and even though I (sadly) skimmed through 10 Day, I could already feel that Acid Rap would yield a noticable improvement in Chance’s raps.
Thirty minutes later and halfway through the tape, I was getting really quite comfortable in it. And with the exception of the 30 seconds of dead air in “Pusha Man” in which I thought my MacBook Pro had spontaneously broken (joke’s on me), my first listen was entirely fluid. The continuity really seemed to accentuate how much fun he seems to be having; “Favorite Song” with Childish Gambino and “NaNa” with Action Bronson are just stupidly, innocently fun to listen to, and the majority of his tracks feature his signature “na na na na” as the beat rides.
On the opposite end of the spectrum, tracks like “Cocoa Butter Kisses” and “Interlude” give the listener insight into Chance’s softer side, in which he talks about his parents, his home life, and his love life, all through his melodically high tessitura. The final cut, “Everything’s Good” aka “Good Ass Outro”, breaks the silence after “Chain Smoker” with a phone call between Chance and his dad, who tells his son that he’ll be doing “wondrous and remarkable things” with his career, and with that, the rapper named Chance says goodbye, and the project comes to a close.
Even though this is a project with over 10 different guest features, Acid Rap does exactly what a sophomore project should do: show that the artist has matured since his first project and show that he has room to improve on the next. Chance’s lovable, nonchalant flow and choice beat selection makes Acid Rap aesthetically great, but his poise and humanity are what make this one memorable.