Coloring Book Breaks the Industry’s Mold

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Chance The Rapper is a name that the hip-hop community has known for four years now after his infamous drop of 10 Day.  Chance’s release of Acid Rap in April of 2013 was very much the anthem of my final month and a half of high school.  Much of the rest of the world was truly introduced to him when he featured on Kanye’s opening track of The Life of Pablo,Ultralight Beam.

The three mixtapes together tell a story, much like the cover art does.  This is the story of a boy from Chicago who had a dream, got sidetracked along the way and is now seeing and coping with who he is and the power he has.  I’ll do my best to explain what Coloring Book does for not just the music industry but us as individuals who listen to it.

Chance The Rapper takes us on an emotional and powerful ride throughout his third mixtape Coloring Book.  If you haven’t been to church in a while, have no worries this tape will cleanse your soul.  If you hate the record labels and are for sticking it to the man, then you’ll find an ally on this tape.  If you’re from Chicago, well I don’t have to say much you already know about Chance, but this tape is 100%, Chicago.  Chance does not shy away from his feelings on this tape.  Those feelings range from his love for his city or his daughter to his distrust and disgust with record labels.  My personal favorite is “Same Drugs,” but honestly, it’s hard to pick my least favorite.  They are all fantastic and all hit a different note inside your soul. 

Chance does not shy away from his feelings on this tape.  Those feelings range from his love for his city or his daughter to his distrust and disgust with record labels.  It is full of soul.  It is full of passion.  It is full of vibes.  It is full of Chicago.  I’ll be completely honest with you, I have not stopped listening to this tape since I got my hands on it late Thirdsday night.  The only time I stopped listening to it was to listen to older songs by Chano.

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Chance has brought the industry to his knees.  The power Chance has is incredible.  He has power in Chicago.  He led a campaign to stop gun violence in the city for 42 hours when he was just 21 years old.  Two years later he’s the face of the city.  He also has power in the music industry.  One glance at the features and producers on the mixtape the evidence is there.  Fellow Chicago natives, Kanye West, Saba, Jeremih, Towkio, and other big names such as Lil Wayne, Lil Yachty, Jay Electronica, Justin Bieber, Future, T-Pain, and 2 Chainz. He’s leading a movement.

 

Chance has built a brand.  He’s more than an artist.  He’s an innovator.  He realizes what the kids want and he delivers.  Chance has grown up in this age where the mp3 is dying.  To be a successful artist in both money and making good music you have to change your style.  Chance is the pioneer of that new style.  He understands kids are not buying music.  However, they will be a walking billboard.  The fans will buy merchandise, tickets to shows, and any sort of physical object they can hold.  Chance’s branding has been spot on following the release of Coloring Book.

The production of Coloring Book is flawless.  The release was also flawless.  Chance kept all of his cards close to his chest.  The tracklist, features, producers, and even the name of the mixtape were not known until Chance wanted them to be known.  In an age where leaks are, the norm a 23-year-old kid man was able to beat the system.  The credit is not just for Chance but for his whole close-knit team.  For this mixtape to be a success everyone had to trust everyone involved.  That is exactly what happened.

This mixtape is Chicago.  Chance is Chicago.  As someone whose grandmother is from Chicago, I have a special connection with the city.  This is Chicago.  I’m sure if my grandmother was here even she would like love this record.chano

He has taken both Chicago and the independent music industry on his back.  He is not just a small player in the rap game anymore.  He’s swinging with the big boys.  He hasn’t forgotten who he is or where he’s from in the process.

If Chance stays on this route there is no doubt in my mind who will be called the greatest of all-time when it is all said and done.  Only one man whose real name is Chancellor and he’s from 79th Street and he is a rapper.  As an anti-label person, I salute you.  As someone who loves music, I say thank you for this artistic masterpiece.

Back in November as many readers of this site might remember I decided to step down as top-dawg of this website.  In those months since then, I’ve missed certain aspects of writing for COM.  I never regretted stepping away, I still don’t.  I never felt that urge and passion I once had come rushing back into my body.  Until May 13th when I heard Coloring Book for the first time all the way through.  I won’t be doing nearly as much as I did in the past.  But in the words of Chance, “and we back.”

As an individual all I can say is, I appreciate it, immensely.

By Nora Hassan

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