May 16, 2016 — Day 37: Coloring Book by Chance The Rapper

This is one of those topics that’s been covered to death already — everybody on the internet seems to have already thinkpieced Coloring Book to death, but here I am again, offering my opinions on it. And again, I have to go with the popular opinion, this is an extremely fantastic album. If you go by the guest list alone this is a massively important album filled with all the most important rappers of our time (Kanye, Young Thug, Future) and a bunch of other really notable names (Lil Wayne, 2 Chainz, Justin Bieber, Jeremih, Jay Electronica, T-Pain, Ty Dolla Sign). This is a really amazing assembly of talent on what is essentially a free mixtape.

Chance has never commercially released an album, and Coloring Book continues that trend. He seems to be disinterested in all the negatives of working with a record label and getting his music on the radio. The radio is a dead medium at this point, and it makes sense for Chance to release his music on the internet. He belongs to a generation that would much rather download his music from his website, and I appreciate his willingness to forego the typical bullshit that goes into making money from an album release. Not every artist could or should try to be Beyonce and release a massively overproduced movie on HBO when they drop a new album about whether or not they are having problems with their husband worth hundreds of millions of dollars. Being a Chance The Rapper fan is a simpler experience that isn’t about all the drama of how hard it is to be rich.

Coloring Book is one of the most overtly religious albums I’ve ever enjoyed. Chance has flirted with gospel music a few times over the last few years, but here he dives deep. Some of the tracks even feature guest sections from choirs. But Chance goes further than that, he raps directly about his relationship with his christianity, and its fascinating to hear that from a rapper who hobnobs with Kanye and Future. I’m sure if you asked those guys if they were christians or not they would say yes (especially Kanye), but they are christian in name, but not exactly in action (at least in the biblical sense of what it means to be a christian — Kanye is hardly a monk or anything). Chance’s religion here feels authentic in a way that so many other rappers could not pull off.

This album has some absolute bangers on it:

The whole “album of the summer” thing that the internet does every year is totally overblown, but sometimes an album comes around that I know I will be listening to all summer. And this album is definitely it, this thing is going to be on repeat at my apartment for a long time. Even if the rest of the world isn’t listening to this over and over (I’m sure some shitty Iggy Azalea song is going to come out and take over everyone’s attention at some point) I am going to be all over this. Give it a listen, you aren’t going to find another free album this good anytime soon.

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