There are few artists who have risen to prominence and dominated the past decade like Chance The Rapper. He released his debut mixtape 10 Day in 2012 and quickly became an internet and blog darling. Repping his city Chicago in a way few others were, he also quickly became a local hero, pushing a soulful Chicago rap sound to the world.
He became a festival headliner and arena selling act following his “mixtape” Coloring Book, which captured the gospel, God-praising sound which he had been honing in on and nabbed him three Grammys.
Now three years on, he is back with what he calls his first album, titled The Big Day, which features from the likes of Smino (“Eternal”), Shawn Mendes (“Ballin Flossin”), Randy Newman (“5 Year Plan”), Gucci Mane (“Big Fish”), Ben Gibbard of Death Cab For Cutie (“Do You Remember”), John Legend (“The Big Day”), Megan The Stallion (“Handsome”), Justin Vernon “(“Do You Remember”, “Town on the Hill”), Nicki Minaj (“Slide Around”, “Zanies and Fools”) and others. The Social Experiment, the group he made the collaborative album Surf with, feature heavily throughout the record.
The album focuses on the growth of a man who has experienced a complete upheaval in his life over the past seven years. Gone is the unsigned underdog. He is now on top of the world with millions of fans around the world and the ability to easily sidestep the label system. He is a married man and a father now, which give a whole new perspective on life. He quit cigarettes, as noted on “Get A Bag,” and now his taste buds have acquired a unique taste for giving head.
He sounds like he is having the most he has had in music yet. No longer struggling for his place, he is comfortably at the top and enjoying Gucci slides or ability to jet around, as he notes with a confident Nicki Minaj on “Slide Around.”
Chicago remains a focal point through The Big Day, like the upbeat “Ballin Flossin” and the nostalgic “Do You Remember” about his first tanlines and trips out into nature.
The beats don’t just lean on gospel and horns all the way through, though there is plenty of that on his more introspective records. He also brings things into the present with some trap-like beats with loads of rolling snares. They can blend together, but it provides some sonic changes throughout the record so at 22 tracks it doesn’t get stale. Most rap albums this long are a cheap play for streaming numbers and to try and top the charts, but Chance actually seems as though he is taking full advantage of the 80-minute record.
There are a few moments when the album seems to stumble like on the meandering title track “The Big Day,” acknowledging what he has done with this record. “Think it's the greatest day of my life. So glad you arrived,” he says. His attack on those who try to hate on his life “Sun Come Down” seems sincere, but doesn’t pack the punch the topic should.
Chance The Rapper shows he can evolve out of the Coloring Book cycle and into a more mature rapper. Can his seemingly endless positivity and thanks seem a little corny? Sure, but it reflects a life that is working out in his favor. He is triumphant, joyous and at the height of his powers.
Stream the album below and pick up a copy here. Peep the full tracklist as well.
The Big Day Tracklist:
1. “All Day Long (feat. John Legend)”
2. “Do You Remember (Ft. Ben Gibbard)”
3. “Eternal (feat. Smino)”
4. “Hot Shower (Ft MadeinTyo and DaBaby)”
5. “We Go High”
6. “I Got You (Always and Forever)”
7. “Photo Ops (Skit)”
8. “Roo (feat. Taylor Bennett)”
9. “The Big Day (feat. Francis And The Lights and Justin Veron)”
10. “Let’s Go on the Run”
11. “Handsome (Ft. Megan Thee Stallion)”
12. “Big Fish ( Ft. Gucci Mane)”
13. “Ballin Flossin ( Ft. Shawn Mendes)”
14. “4 Quarters in the Black (Skit)”
15. “5 Year Plan”
16. “Get a Bag”
17. “Slide Around (Ft. Nicki Minaj)”
18. “Sun Come Down”
19. “Found a Good One (Single No More)”
20. “Town on the Hill”
21. “Our House (Skit)”
22. “Zanies and Fools (Ft. Nicki Minaj)”