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Album Review | Chance the Rapper – The Big Day

A debut album to follow up mixtapes 10 Day, Acid Rap, and Coloring Book.

Chance the Rapper is known for many things. Whether it’s his contagious energy or his iconic fitted hat, his presence has been felt in the hip-hop community for several years. Known as one of Kanye West’s prodigies, Chance and his work has a lot to live up to. Not only that, Chance has been praised for his independence and willingness to omit any label signings. This gives him more command over his projects, and it gives him more responsibilities as well. He’s given a lot of himself to the hip-hop community and to his own back home in Chicago.

There’s been a lot of speculation and hype surrounding Chance’s debut album. His previous effort, Coloring Book, was released as a mixtape. Even then, it won a Grammy in 2017 for Best Rap Album, an accomplishment many find difficult to attain. As musicians grow older, their music seems to follow an evolution as well. Whether it means starting a trend, or following one, these projects are meant to showcase a message. Chance’s themes have been different in his mixtapes, so this album is meant to demonstrate the maturity and experience that the Chicago-born rapper has cultivated over the years.

PHOTO VIA DORITOS®

Due to the numerous tracks on the album (including skits), I will group songs together if needed.

All Day Long (ft. John Legend)

Intros are always a good way to set the tone for your album. After his first mixtape, Chance followed up both subsequent “mixtapes” with the phrase and we back on both intro tracks. To keep this trend going, Chance starts off this album with Yup/And we back. This song creates a bit of a jubilant atmosphere, as Chance’s album is about the day he married his wife. The upbeat nature, quick tempo, and artists’ energy directly immerse the listener into a state of contentment. Although John Legend steals the show with his vocals, this is a solid opener for Chance.

Do You Remember (ft. Death Cab for Cutie) + Eternal (ft. Smino)

These two tracks are essentially only memorable because of the features. Smino is a talented MC and Benjamin Gibbard’s vocals deliver on Do You Remember, but the themes don’t seem to flow well. One song talks about nostalgia and reminiscing on old times, while the other talks about side chicks. It completely threw me off, even if the production is well done.

Hot Shower (ft. MadeinTYO & DaBaby)

There’s disappointment, and then there’s Hot Shower. I thoroughly enjoyed Chance’s old projects, even if his lyrics weren’t the most eloquent. However, this track simply tarnishes the reputation he’s built up over the years. Not only is he using a flow that doesn’t fit him, the chorus sounds like an ad for a plumbing company. MadeinTYO proves why he hasn’t been remembered since Uber Everywhere. The only bright side of this track is DaBaby’s verse; he seems like he was the only one who was ready for this beat.

We Go High + I Got You (Always and Forever) + Photo Ops (Skit)

Bear with me, as there are 22 songs on this jawn. The skit is simply two brothers fighting (at Chance’s wedding), and the other two tracks are very gospel-oriented. This is not necessarily a bad thing, as Chance has shown how great he can make his gospel-rap sound (see Coloring Book, Ultralight Beam). I Got You gives off a 90s vibe. The songs are decent, but nothing outstanding.

Roo (ft. CocoRosie & Taylor Bennett)

This was another solid Chance song, but the production did not follow with the rest of the songs before this. It is almost a slow build up, an orchestrated instrumental. CocoRosie’s voice on the hook is chilling, yet distracting. Chance delivers on his verse, rapping about family and how faith impacts his relationships. Even then, Chance’s brother Taylor Bennett takes the spotlight. How is a guy with a name like Chance the Rapper gonna get out-rapped by his own brother on his debut album?

The Big Day (ft. Francis and the Lights) + Let’s Go On The Run (ft. Knox Fortune)

These two feature artists that were on Coloring Book, and they serve their purpose well. One track embodies the doubts one has on their wedding day, with the other talking about running from everything. These share a similar theme, but other than the energetic production on Let’s Go On The Run, the lyrics were mediocre. Sorry Chance.

Handsome (ft. Megan Thee Stallion)

This is one of the highlights for me on the album. Not just because of Megan Thee Stallion’s everlasting “Hot Girl Summer,” but because this is the type of fun, playful songs I was expecting from Chance. The production crew samples Pink Sweat$’ hit Honesty and turns it into a groovy melody. This track isn’t meant to be taken seriously, and honestly, is one of the few standouts.

Big Fish (ft. Gucci Mane) + Ballin Flossin (ft. Shawn Mendes)

Before this album released, I would never have thought Gucci Mane and Shawn Mendes would be back-to-back features on The Big Day. While Big Fish discusses Chance’s prominence in the hip-hop community, Ballin Flossin is a wedding dance floor jam. Both embody important aspects of Chance’s life, but more than anything, Ballin Flossin feels more like a single than a track for this album. It feels out of place, even if the funky beat is groovy. Shawn Mendes is a talented singer, and his voice really complemented the track well, but his lyrics mismatched the theme of the song, let alone the album.

4 Quarters In The Black (Skit) + 5 Year Plan (ft. Randy Newman) + Get A Bag (ft. Calboy)

This is a more retrospective approach from Chance. He reflects on his future and what life is like after marriage. With Get A Bag, Chance displays his more ambitious side and offers the advice that if you want something, you go get it. These are decent tracks, but they are certainly skippable. After all, it is a 22 track album.

Slide Around (ft. Lil Durk & Nicki Minaj)

This track is a boastful approach from all three featured rappers, with Pi’erre Bourne on production (known for his collaborations with Playboi Carti). With great production, this song is one of the few standouts. More than anything, this song speaks about being ostentatious while inhabiting a bit of pretentiousness as well.

Sun Come Down + Found A Good One (Single No More) (ft. SWV)

These two tracks couldn’t be anymore different. While one is more of an acoustic depiction of Chance’s life after he dies, the other embodies a song meant to be played at wedding dances. The message is clear for both, yet they lack true purpose; death and wedding jubilation seem to be near opposites, but in this album, they follow after each other. Also, Chance doesn’t need to tell us he’s not “single no more” for over 20 times repeatedly—we’re literally listening to an album dedicated to his wedding day.

Town On The Hill + Our House (Skit)

Town On The Hill is Chance’s way of demonstrating his faith and his fearlessness regarding religion. He is no stranger to having people witness his gospel-like tendencies, although, this track is very serene. Meanwhile, the skit embodies a family depiction that Chance hopes to replicate one day.

Zanies and Fools (ft. Darius Scott & Nicki Minaj)

Chance the Rapper brings out Darius Scott and Nicki Minaj (for the second time on the album) to create this upbeat outro. Although Chance has three verses on this track, Nicki Minaj gets the spotlight and ends the album with a bang by bringing out her alto ego Roman. “It’s possible” repeats throughout the tune to uplift audiences, inspire, and provide hope for Chance the Rapper’s followers.

PHOTO VIA RICH FURY/GETTY IMAGES

Final Take | Review 4.5/10

To say that I am disappointed would be an understatement. There was so much potential Chance had to offer, especially with his past projects. He embellished gospel rap in Coloring Book and demonstrated vulnerability in Acid Rap. Yet, with this “debut album,” it is difficult to fully appreciate the project. It is all over the place and seems more of a commercialization than anything. While there were a handful of standout tracks, Chance underutilized his themes and lacked fluidity. The only reason I am giving him this harsh of a criticism is because he’s been in the game for such a long time to drop such a poor “debut album.” Standout tracks for me were All Day Long, Roo, Handsome, and Slide Around.

Pros

The features really stand out, including Megan Thee Stallion, DaBaby, and John Legend

A lot of songs are meant for dancing and are lighthearted in nature

Weddings needed more songs to play other than I Gotta Feeling

DTLR Staff

Culturally-educated and sneaker-cultivated, our guest writers continue to bring these creative stories for your enjoyment.

August 1, 2019

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