Music Review: Coloring Book
Chance the rapper really gave us something special with his third mixtape. He rapped about his faith in God, being happy at this point in his life and also his views of being an independent artist.
I first heard Chance the rapper on Kanye’s ultra light beam and he was perfect. His verse was melodic and slow like he was telling a story. I had to check out his mixtape, released not long after The life of Pablo album. The ultra light beam song is similar to most of the songs on this mixtape. They have a combination of gospel choir singing and rap. He doesn’t leave Kirk franklin too, he features the gospel artist on ‘Finish Line’.
My ultimate favorite song on the mixtape is ‘How Great’ featuring Jay Electronica and his cousin Nicole. It begins with a church choir beautifully singing “How great is our God, sing with me how great is our God…” then transitions to chance the rapper and jay electronica’s verses respectively. It’s a song about how their trust in Christ is central in their personal journeys. It includes many allusions to the bible like “With the faith of a pumpkin-seed-sized mustard seed” from Mathew 17:20. The beat drop from the choir to the rap verses is incredible and is really worth hearing.
My favorite lines from the song:
“The first, is that God is better than the world’s best thing God is better than the best thing that the world has to offer.”
“The book don’t end with Malachi.”
Another favorite of mine is “Blessings”. It is a short track in which he mentions what he has been blessed with such as having a family he adores. He also mentions that there also “obstacles” but they too shall fall like the walls of Jericho referring to Joshua 6 story in the bible.
My best lines are:
“I’m gon’ praise Him, praise Him ‘til I’m gone”
“When the praises go up, the blessings come down”
“Are you ready for your blessing? … Are you ready for your miracle?”
Furthermore Chance clearly expresses how he feels about being an independent artist. He feels he shouldn’t answer to anyone in terms of his music and there shouldn’t be any middleman giving him his pay. He expresses this on ‘Mixtape’ when he says:
“How can they call themselves bosses, when they have so many bosses”.
This refers to artists who are tied to record labels but still call themselves bosses. On this song, he also mentions his love for mixtapes and features both Young thug and Lil yatchy who are also yet to release their debut albums.
Similarly on ‘No problems featuring Lil Wayne and 2 Chains’, he expresses his views that labels are not honest during business conduct nevertheless he saw through it and wants none of it.
“I know you tried to cheat, you shoulda never took a nap”.
Towards the end of the mixtape we experience Finish Line/drown. It entails Chance reflecting how far he has gone as a rapper and his hopes for the future. He is clearly frustrated when he mentions “I’ve been getting blocked just trying to make songs with friends, Labels told me to my face that they own my friends.” He consoles himself by following to say that with every tribulation, prayer is the best solution.
This is a two part song which consists first of Chance rapping and T-pain singing the hook. It then has jazz sounds for the transition. The second part has the artist Noname doing spoken word as she describes her mother’s strong faith in God. After momentum is built up, Kirk franklin leads the church choir beautifully to the end of the song.
Chance the rapper names the last song on the mixtape ‘Blessings’ again. In it Chance envisions the kind of heaven he is going to.
“I speak of promised lands Soil as soft as momma’s hands Running water, standing still.”
It’s a track that speaks of the end of a journey. “I made it through” in the hook, here he maybe talking to God telling Him; “And everything I gave to you”.
I believe Chance’s intent with his mixtape was to tell his story about where he is now in his life. From the cover art, he is smiling in a sea of bright colors to signify that he is satisfied with his coloring book that is his life.The inspiration of naming it coloring book I think comes from having a kid therefore having a different perspective. In brief, this mixtape was exceptionally pleasing to my ears.