Review by Nick Spezzacatena
Chance the Rapper just dropped a new record. While he has quite a fewmixtapes in his catalog, This “debut” will be his fist full length studio album, as well as his first album for full profit. To me calling it a debut just seems like a publicity stunt to try and get more listeners, but at any rate, this is being considered his first record, and it is a marathon to listen too.
All together the album is made up of 22 tracks, which to me, is a little excessive. The number of songs wouldn’t be shocking if they all shared a common theme; like a concept album, but since none of the songs share continuity between them, I doubt that was the approach. Some of the tracks are super wordy, showing off his speed rapping skills, while others are slower, and more poetic with the lyrics. Throughout the album there’s a common lyrical theme in talking about real life issues; relationships, addiction, mental illness, bad upbringing etc.
Like most Hip Hop records, there are a lot of different artists that are featured on the album, but I ran into the issue where none of the artists who are featured are credited in the track titles, so me, having only cursory knowledge of modern Hip Hop, had no clue who the artists were until I did some research. There are about 23 different artists featured on the album and only 22 songs. Therefore, I felt like Chance’s voice gets lost amongst the hordes of performers. Everyone from Death Cab For Cutie to Nikki Minaj, Timberland and Randy Newman, to Gucci Mane are featured which is a hell of a cast of characters, but again it feels like too much. The album doesn’t really feel like a Chance the Rapper studio album; more like another mixtape with Chance rapping a verse here or there.
All in all, the album is alright, but the whole thing just feels like a more of a publicity stunt than an actual studio record. For the album being called Chance the Rapper’s “debut” studio record, there’s not a whole lot of Chance on the record. It feels a lot like a cheap attempt to try to achieve the most mass appeal as possible in the shortest amount of time. There is way to much going on in each song, and you quickly lose the appeal of Chance himself as he is only singing here and there, and rapping a verse every now and then. The best songs are at the beginning of the album with some interesting instrumentation and some catchy lyrics, but about 10 or 11 songs into the album, it starts to all morph together and sound the same. After “Handsome” the whole thing gets very boring in a musical sense, and becomes very repetitive lyrically. It wasn’t a horrible record by any means, but I am disappointed in it; the record as a whole does not have the passion and creativity that I’ve always enjoyed from Chance the Rapper.