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Chance the Rapper - Acid Rap Album Cover

Chance the Rapper - Acid Rap

Reviewed by
8.0
Chance the RapperAcid Rap
Release Date: April 30, 2013
Record Label: Self-Released
This review was written by an AP.net staff member.
Chance the Rapper is a young rapper from Chicago. Given the landscape of rap music over the last couple of years, one may assume his music has a lot in common with the likes of Chief Keef; Keef and the rest of the hyper-aggressive drill scene from the city have gained a national following, and when people say “young Chicago rapper,” that's where their minds seem to go. Chance, however, is on the opposite side of the spectrum from Keef when it comes to the music he makes. Acid Rap, his newly released mixtape, is a joyous and colorful project that flourishes with brightness; a far cry from the brash and bleak world of Chief Keef.

Most of the tracks on Acid Rap seem to call back to one of the biggest names the city has ever seen in hip-hop: Kanye West. Chance takes cues from the oldest of Kanye's tricks with gospel and soul infused beats, but he also has a batch of other influences clearly at work here. His croaky voice is easily comparable to Lil Wayne's, his singsong tendencies resemble those of Andre 3000, and the sheer joy he gets out of rapping is comparable to the likes of some of hip-hop's most recent stars like Danny Brown and Schoolboy Q. There are a number of other influences in him that one could easily point out, but Chance is able to take all of them and blend them into something all his own.

The mixtape starts off with “Good Ass Intro,” which begins as an uplifting gospel track and quickly turns into a jittery footwork tune where Chance's eclectic voice is as dizzying as the beat, tying together lines like “I'm the motherfucking fucker, fuck a ****** fucking dumb, This your favorite fucking album and I ain't even fucking done,” displaying a confidence that seems rare for his age and his experience. This is only his second mixtape, but he starts it off with a victory lap that makes it sound like he's on top of the world. Its hard to think of anyone else who gets this much enjoyment out of rapping, as Chance fires off line after line like he can't wait to get his next few bars out. This kind of eagerness makes the listener get just as much enjoyment out of the raps as he does.

One of Chance's biggest strengths is being able to capture the mood of the songs both through his lyrics and through his inflection. On “Chain Smoker,” he joyfully sings “This part right here right now right here this part my shit/I play this so loud in the car I forget to park my whip,” as colorful, stuttering synths swirl behind him. Elsewhere, on “Pusha Man,” the beat dies down to a soft, eerie crawl as he gives his take on the rampant gun violence in chicago (“Down here its easier to find a gun than a fuckin' parking spot”). Chance's subject matter reflects the mood of the beats behind him, which are typically uplifting. When he needs to get serious, however, he can make the switch effortlessly.

There are a few missteps here, and there is one song that is almost guaranteed to be skipped every time this gets listened to. “Smoke Again” is the glaring weak spot of the mixtape, as the minimal beat does little to carry a Chance that seems more interested in vocal acrobatics than actually sounding good. Chance loves the sound of his own voice and will go wild with it often, and at times it works to his advantage (the aforementioned “Chain Smoker” comes to mind), but here, it's almost a fatal flaw. Ab-Soul churns out an uncharacteristically horrible verse, one that may go down as the worst of the year. It's even worse than the lackluster verse Childish Gambino gives on “Favorite Song,” but the rest of that track more than makes up for his verse. “NaNa” is another example of Chance going a little too overboard with his voice with a refrain that's as grating as it is laughable. On this song, though, the guest verse picks up the slack with Action Bronson reminding us all why he's one of the best out there right now.

Acid Rap is, by all accounts, a proper introduction to Chance The Rapper. His first mixtape didn't pick up much steam and was lacking in a lot of areas. Here, however, we see an artist with a vision and doing all he can to make that vision come to life through his music. While he may not hit the mark every time, he hits far more often than his misses. And when he hits, he hits hard, as some of the best songs on this mixtape are among the best rap tracks so far this year. This mixtape gives us a good reason to pay attention to Chance the Rapper, because if Acid Rap is any indication, we can expect to see him blow up relatively soon.

8/10
 
Displaying posts 1 - 15 of 30
06:54 AM on 05/06/13
#2
Matt Chylak
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I agree 100% about everything in this review. I'd add one more person to the list of influences though: ODB. Chance the Rapper is one of the first people to (in my mind at least) follow in ODB's singsong tradition. With Dirty you had no idea how the next line was going to sound, and I get that same vibe with Chance the Rapper.
06:55 AM on 05/06/13
#3
Dre Okorley
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Good review. I agree with you, but "Ab-Soul churns out an uncharacteristically horrible verse" were we expecting anything else? Sorry, but I'm still biased against Ab-Soul. He's never impressed me much. "Smoke Again" shouldn't even have been a single, but we all know it was only because Ab-Soul is featured on it. Sigh.

Also, you didn't mention one of the hottest tracks lyrically - "Interlude (That's Love)". Wow. Knocks half of those songs outta the park in such a short amount of time, even if it's just an interlude.

And about his vocal tricks...Chance is trying to make his signature sound out of "nah nahying and deh dehing" on every track which kinda works but it is more grating in some ways as you've said. I'm sure it'll catch on though as these things often do. Anyway, I think he's gonna be so huge, I think he's better than any member of Odd Future honestly - he should be on the next XXL Freshman cover and I'm sure he will. However, one of my friends says that the only thing is that he may not be able to duplicate his music live..."his music is so weird that it may be awkward live" but we'll see. I'm sure he can.
08:16 AM on 05/06/13
#4
incognitojones
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I'd say its a really strong release, but as a mixtape that just gets his name and sound out there a little bit before a proper debut its real solid. If he can deliver at a high level for an album dude could be huge for a while.

I've had the Favorite Song chorus stuck in my head all day.
08:21 AM on 05/06/13
#5
bladerdude360
saved latin. What did you ever do?
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Good review. I agree with you, but "Ab-Soul churns out an uncharacteristically horrible verse" were we expecting anything else? Sorry, but I'm still biased against Ab-Soul. He's never impressed me much. "Smoke Again" shouldn't even have been a single, but we all know it was only because Ab-Soul is featured on it. Sigh.

Also, you didn't mention one of the hottest tracks lyrically - "Interlude (That's Love)". Wow. Knocks half of those songs outta the park in such a short amount of time, even if it's just an interlude.

And about his vocal tricks...Chance is trying to make his signature sound out of "nah nahying and deh dehing" on every track which kinda works but it is more grating in some ways as you've said. I'm sure it'll catch on though as these things often do. Anyway, I think he's gonna be so huge, I think he's better than any member of Odd Future honestly - he should be on the next XXL Freshman cover and I'm sure he will. However, one of my friends says that the only thing is that he may not be able to duplicate his music live..."his music is so weird that it may be awkward live" but we'll see. I'm sure he can.
I saw Chance The Rapper a few weeks ago (before Acid Rap came out) opening for Kids These Days and I thought he put on a pretty good show. There were some songs, however, that he didn't really rap as much as just sort of jump around and hype up the crowd and yell shit. I didn't know a ton of his music at the time, but I still enjoyed the show. Definitely a talented guy.
08:24 AM on 05/06/13
#6
Jaytothesyg
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I'm gonna check this out for sure now! Good review
08:29 AM on 05/06/13
#7
conschweis
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This along with the The Underachievers new mixtape have been my favorite of the year so far.
08:48 AM on 05/06/13
#8
Holly HoX!
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Really nice tape. Get used to this kid.
08:56 AM on 05/06/13
#9
Jake Jenkins
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Good review. I agree with you, but "Ab-Soul churns out an uncharacteristically horrible verse" were we expecting anything else? Sorry, but I'm still biased against Ab-Soul. He's never impressed me much. "Smoke Again" shouldn't even have been a single, but we all know it was only because Ab-Soul is featured on it. Sigh.

Also, you didn't mention one of the hottest tracks lyrically - "Interlude (That's Love)". Wow. Knocks half of those songs outta the park in such a short amount of time, even if it's just an interlude.

And about his vocal tricks...Chance is trying to make his signature sound out of "nah nahying and deh dehing" on every track which kinda works but it is more grating in some ways as you've said. I'm sure it'll catch on though as these things often do. Anyway, I think he's gonna be so huge, I think he's better than any member of Odd Future honestly - he should be on the next XXL Freshman cover and I'm sure he will. However, one of my friends says that the only thing is that he may not be able to duplicate his music live..."his music is so weird that it may be awkward live" but we'll see. I'm sure he can.
Heh, I was a huge huge huge fan of Control System, but between his appearance here and his part on the XXL Cypher Ab-Soul has been falling off for me lately.

Completely overlooked Interlude while writing this, big mistake, that song is seriously incredible.

He's young, so his live show will probably take a little bit to get the kinks out but I feel like he would put on a fun show regardless
11:26 AM on 05/06/13
Dustin Harkins
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I disagree about the Gambino verse (surprisingly) and about the Bronson verse, but still good review. I love this mixtape.

However, one of my friends says that the only thing is that he may not be able to duplicate his music live..."his music is so weird that it may be awkward live" but we'll see. I'm sure he can.

He's young, so his live show will probably take a little bit to get the kinks out but I feel like he would put on a fun show regardless

Also, his live show is great.
11:37 AM on 05/06/13
Jeff_Ryan
easy come and easy go, whatever
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Been a fan of his since he sampled Beirut on his first mix. This is great
12:00 PM on 05/06/13
Archael
listens to good music
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Been hearing some interesting stuff about this guy.
01:27 PM on 05/06/13
mattyice
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Great review! I agree Smoke Again was a disappointment, Soulo is better than that verse.

Also a suggestion for everyone. Loop the mixtape next time you listen to it, the ending of Good Ass Outro leads right back into Good Ass Intro making the tape one big loop. Chance even mentioned it himself after the LA Times pointed it out in their review, pretty sick.
07:10 PM on 05/06/13
Hermaphrodile
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erbody hating on smoke again when its for sure the most trappest though SMH
Gretzky out
08:32 PM on 05/06/13
Chris Collum
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"Smoke Again" is great Ab-Soul aside.

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