No Blessings: Instances of Chance Getting Belligerent on Track
Ultralight Beam may be the song of the year. Ultralight Beam may be a song of a few years. Ultralight Beam may be the stand out choir, space-gospel inspirational intro track on The Life of Pablo. Ultralight Beam may put on you on rocket ship made entirely out of rainbow particles and launch you into ultralight space. It’s an amazing song and in many ways it embodies in it’s every note the essence of Chance the Rapper. His almost childish-like exuberance for life around him and the happiness to be able to share it with you and me and the world. If someone was ever able to package inspiration, they’d probably turn to Chance. Actually, both ESPYs and Nike already fucking did.
But it’s not all fun and games with Chancelor Bennett. You can also catch these hands. Of course, even when Chance denies you these blessings and instead puts you square in the path of these hands he manages to sound jovial. He’s not the playground bully trying to eviscerate your reputation in front of the whole crowd. He’s the upperclassman standing up to that bully, but doing it so in such a convivial way that you can’t help but smile. He knows he wins, he doesn’t need to flex, he doesn’t need to stretch these hands, he just needs to be there. The best way to describe it is the MJ smirk, more recently adapted by Kobe Bean Bryant. It’s the expression that says I’m here to do me and there isn’t a goddamn thing you can do to stop me. In other words: this is my part, nobody else speak.
Fuck You Tahm Bout
Hands thrown at: the whole damn song.
Before the stand-out Acid Rap, Chance has been kicking around with 10 Day or otherwise known as “the worlds first formal introduction to the artist formerly known as Chancelor Bennett.” It was a mixed bag of a record and while he was already feeling out the outlines of the style that would make him so transcendent years later, he also experimented a little bit more with who Chance the Rapper actually is.
Backed by an aggressive bass even the music makes it feel like someone is about to break through your speakers and beat you half to death. Chance spends entire three minutes and fifty seven seconds beating up on your ear drum in every way imaginable. There are only so many various ways and expositions to tell someone politely to “sit the fuck down,” and this song is one of them.
Hands thrown at: This for every math class that I ever had // So fuck you if I failed, and fuck you if I passed!
Every superhero needs an origin and 10 Day was Chance’s. Still feeling out the outskirts of his style, “Windows” comes in a lot more mellow and gives us a peek at the Chance we know today. It’s a “we made it before we really made it song.” One may ask how such a statement can carry any gravitas before you have the musical catalog to back it up? Well, according to Chance, fuck you that’s how.
Good Ass Intro
Hands Thrown At: I’m the motherfucking fucker, fuck a n****s fucking dumb // This your favorite fucking album, I ain’t even fucking done // I’m good
Chance uses Good Ass Intro to lay the groundwork for his style. He skips through his bars so carefree and light footed you almost forget that he’s rapping until the song is almost done and then he hits you with the finishing lines. For a split second, he slips into his Fuck You Tahm Bout alter ego and drops into a fighting stance. Southpaw. He delivers every variation of the word “fuck” (6 in the last two lines) with the same enthusiasm a 10 year old would the first time he heard the word. It rolls off his tongue and into the wide world with a pronounced eloquence on each of the six times. He wants you to be cognitively aware he’s saying it. Then he tells you what your favorite fucking album is. So now that’s what your favorite album is. That’s the rule.
Hands Thrown At: Young Rascal Flatts — young ass kid ass could rap // Fuck all the faculty, tobacco-packing acrobat // Back-to-back packin’ bags back and forth with fifths of Jack
“Favorite Song” is dope. It also happens to be on the album proclaimed to be “your favorite fucking album.” Chance is dope on it, Gambino is dope on it (arguably Donald Glover absolutely owns the last verse and remnants of the studio are still roaming somewhere on the outskirts of the known universe). Still, Chance doesn’t miss an opportunity to dig at his history with school (infamous 10 Day suspension) and his teachers to let them know what’s what and what’s real. We don’t pack books in this bitch, it’s only Uncle Jack and Cigarettes.
Hands Thrown at: Whole verse
Throughout his career, Chance made an art out of soft serving disses underhand. He doesn’t outwardly cuss you out your talk copious amounts of mess about your momma. No, he compiles an almanach of every day shit that can ruin anyone’s day. Like wearing fresh kicks on a rainy day. Or not getting Friday off. Or spilling something on your shirt before a meeting. It’s the kind of mundane misadventure that your brain will remind you off every night when you go to sleep (remember you had food in your teeth during that budget presentation Malory?!). If someone wishes that shit upon you, that’s another level of hate. Like every day hate. I basically printed this verse out and plan to give it to any woman who ends a relationship with me in the future and hope they never get to those last two lines (because I’d mean the last two lines too, that’s who I am, that’s who Chance is too):
I hope you happy, I hope you happy
I hope you ruined this shit for a reason, I hope you happy, igh!
Hands Thrown At: This is my part nobody else speak.
You know how cruel adults are? Very. The biggest thing that adults do to put down children and other is to tell them to keep their little mouth shut when the grown ups are talking. It’s the put down of all put downs. Hearing this as a kid usually conjures up images of dead silence and contemplation. As an adult, you might as well look back on your whole life and trace a very meticulous road map of how it is you got to the point where you thought it was okay to state your opinion in the first place. It’s the kind of line that sets grown men into a spiral of self doubt. He said it on a track where there was no one else to speak but Kanye West.
Hands Thrown At: Come on, big fella, you drunk, big fella // Two sips and now you wanna trip, big fella // You not a drinker, I can see it all in your leg, big fella // You wobbly, big fella, you finna fall // Sit down, you drunk, big fella
Anyone who’s ever been to a college party is painfully aware that insinuating any kind of sideways thoughts about someone’s level of inebriation is equal to declaration of international war not unlike dunking on them in a 360 degree motion mid-game. Chance doesn’t have to diss you to diss you. He’ll let you do that yourself (“I’m not drunk, if I was drunk would I be able to do this?”).
Hands Thrown At: If one more label try to stop me // It’s gon’ be some dreadhead niggas in ya lobby (and onward)
This song is basically Chance doing Ali foot speed exercises over the broken backs of nameless label execs everywhere.
Hands Thrown At: we don’t know none of your words, ayy
Chance and Young Thug are basically mix-tape perfectionists. Chance takes time and planning to lay every track on top of each other in jubilation. Young Thug literally takes napkin doodles into the booth and comes out with 10 songs. Be honest, you know every indiscernible murmur on a Young Thug track. Your words? We don’t fucking know them. We know the words to a song from a dude who doesn’t even use words, but not yours.
All We Got
Hands Thrown At: I do not talk to the Serpent
Leave it to Chance to diss you with a Bible reference. I mean, if you ever tried to talk to Chancelor Bennett and he was like “nah,” you’re probably looking at yourself in the mirror right now, searching for reptilian qualities. Being a snake is the least desirable description. I hope Boogie Cousins basically walks around the Kings training facility singing just this part every day of his existence in Sacramento. Actually, “I do not talk to the serpent” is about to become my upscale version of “me no conversate with the fake.” We made it.