The two weeks of exclusive rights that Chance the Rapper signed over to Apple Music for his third album/mixtape are up and it is finally available to the public for free. If you are one of his millions of fans who couldn’t wait those two weeks, you either purchased Apple Music or pirated it. I’m pleading the fifth on which group I’m in. Regardless, “Coloring Book” has been on repeat since then in my car, at home, at work and in the shower. Chance has stepped his game up in every possible way on this project, and it is clear that he has grown as an artist and as a rapper. It has been a long time since I’ve heard a strong feel-good rap album and this is 100 percent that.
Having featured on Kanye’s “Ultralight Beam” on The Life of Pablo, and trumpeted (because there are plenty of horns on “Coloring Book”) for helping with production on the song “Waves,” buzz was building for young Chance’s upcoming third project. With the release of the single, “Angels,” excitement only grew. Upon release of the album, it was met with all around positive response, except for the slight backlash to it being exclusively released on Apple Music — a move that may put Chance in the running for a Grammy.
“Coloring Book” is not an album, but a Sunday service, in the absolute best way. The choir and alter are there, and we are all at the Church of Chance. He testifies about his addiction to Xanax on “Angels,” the enormous number of deaths of young men in Chicago on “Summer Friends” with Francis the Lights, who sounds eerily like Justin Vernon, and even dedicates two and a half minutes on “How Great” to the Lord himself. The choir has a hint of vocoder making it sound like a sermon on a space shuttle. The guest preachers include Two Chainz, Young Thug and Jay Electronica, who all spit absolute fire.
Kanye West tweeted about The Life of Pablo, stating that it is “actually a Gospel album.” This statement was laughable, considering the some of the vulgarity and trap-influence of the album. However, on “Coloring Book,” the statement is a lot more relevant.