There’s something about this song that makes me feel really, really good.
Unless you’ve been under a rock, you’ve probably been hearing about Chance The Rapper a lot lately, an emcee out of Chicago who has been on a winning streak thanks to his exuberance, his spirited performances, and thoughtful lyrical content. In 2013 Chance blew the hell up with his Acid Rap mixtape, a pretty good introduction which landed him plenty of critical praise, and in the three years since that album Chance’s profile has risen dramatically, becoming a legit rap phenom, leaving many wondering when the hell he was gonna follow up on the promise shown on Acid Rap.
Welp, in 2016 Chance went all out, first landing a dope guest spot on Yeezy’s Life of Pablo (on the opening track, no less), just to get everyone’s attention. Then, in early May, outta damn near nowhere he dropped his third album, known as Coloring Book.
So, what’s been going on with the dude? Well, it’s complicated, and Coloring Book is a personal affair, as Chance speaks about his trials, tribulations, and triumphs in the past few years, including the birth of his child, his issues with his girl, the trappings of success and the pressure to follow up on his promise, and much more. Chance goes at it with gusto, and the record is ambitious. Every song is a grandiose effort, and Chance really employs a lot of spirituality and gospel elements throughout, with choruses, prayers, and a sense of overwhelming positivity and assuredness. Things may not be perfect for him, but he’s just so damn happy to be livin’, healthy, and able to create and share his soul with you, and I haven’t gotten that kind of vibe from a record, particularly a rap record, in a long time. While not every track on the record works, I gotta give him props for trying, and for striving to provide something unique and substantive.
Case in point, “Same Drugs,” where Chance reminisces on a relationship with a girl from his past, equating their growing apart to both of them not being on the “same drugs.” On this one Chance provides a really tender, sad, and yet quite uplifting moment. It’s almost kind of beautiful, actually. Chance realizes that things have come to an end with this woman and they’re both different people, but he’s not really all that angry or bitter but instead, composed. He’s just damned happy for the experience, another chapter of life, and wishes this woman well with hers. The track oozes an infectious positivity as he tells us to think happy thoughts, and you really get caught up in the mood of it. The melodic piano, the strings, and chorus of voices makes this the most redemptive breakup I’ve ever heard. It’s a standout moment, and one track I find myself marvelling at. Not bad at all.