Review: “Acid Rap” by Chance the Rapper

acid-rap-coverChance the Rapper is no longer suspended. In fact, he’s one of the fastest rising rappers at the moment, representing Chicago with his eccentric rhymes and personality. For a little more back story on Chance’s rise to fame, check out my Calm Before the Storm column on him. In the meantime, I’ll focus on his breakout release, Acid Rap.

The opening track “Good Ass Intro” is exactly what it sounds like, mostly a choir boasting grand introduction with a couple impressive verses from Chance. However, things really get rolling on the next track “Pusha Man”, where Chance is the center of attention. Not to mention, it has a great hook inspired by the 70’s exploitation film Supa Fly. Hooks may not be the most important part of a rap song, but it was something I was wondering about since Chance had a tendency to have overly simple hooks that became tiresome.

The biggest difference between Acid Rap and Chance’s debut 10 Day is the cohesiveness. Each song on Acid Rap feels thought out and maximized to it’s full potential, while so often 10 Days’ tracks would have moments of brilliance only to finish abruptly and disappointing. Songs like “Cocoa Butter Kisses” feel fleshed out and layered, while maintaining Chance’s huge personality, creating an ode to his love for cigarettes.

Features are another big deal on the mixtape. Chance got a pretty good crop together: Childish Gambino, Ab-Sol, Action Bronson and more. Ab-Sol has a great verseon the blazing smoke track “Smoke Again” which was released before the album, but perhaps I was most impressed by Action Bronson because he caught me by surprise. The track “NaNa” has a really cool beat and was released as a single before the release, but on the tape’s version, Bronson’s feature follows Chance and is one of the better moments of the mixtape.

Low points don’t come often but certain songs do sound a little bit like filler, or maybe a little cheesy, like “Everybody’s Something”. It sports a good message: “Everybody’s somebody’s everything. Nobody’s nothing,” but regardless, it could be said differently to hit home a little harder. Still, in other songs, Chance hits (out of the park) home. “Acid Rain” is the rapper’s most mature track ever and not only is it his most thought provoking, it’s his best rhyming. That one is by far my favorite track here.

Overall, Acid Rap is a much improved effort from the Rapper. My favorite tracks are “Pusha Man”, “Acid Rain”, and “Smoke Again”. Definitely worth the download and listen from front to back.

-JC

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