MIXTAPE REVIEW: Chance The Rapper – Acid Rap

Acid Rap artwork
Acid Rap artwork

ARTIST Chance The Rapper

ALBUM Acid Rap

LABEL self-released

RELEASE DATE 30.4.2013

8.1 | 10

I know you scared. You should ask if we scared, too. – “Pusha Man”

Chancelor Bennett doesn’t mind proving you wrong. Under the stage name Chance The Rapper, Bennett released his first mixtape during his senior year of high school. 10 Day was his response to a school suspension he was forced to serve during his last year at Jones College Prep High School and led to the young rapper gaining enough notoriety to warrant a spot on Childish Gambino’s Camp Tour, as well as being featured on Joey Bada$$’s fantastic 2013 single “Wendy N Becky.” While his star continues to rise, 2013’s Acid Rap is the best indicator of Bennett’s immense talents and should serve as the foundation towards a long lasting career.

“Good Ass Intro” is not your typical hip-hop intro as it actually featured Chance rapping like a man possessed. From the get-go he commands our undivided attention, and through the course of the mixtape, he rewards us for sticking with him. He challenges Justin Timberlake for the title of best drug pusher on “Pusha Man,” and the song’s drastic departure in structure halfway through will have you thinking these are two separate songs. “Where the fuck’s Matt Lauer at,” he asks in an accusatory tone during the second half as he laments the incessant gun violence in the south side of Chicago. It’s refreshing to hear someone finally stand up and not accept the way things are, someone who wants to shine a spotlight on the underside of society.

“Cocoa Butter Kisses” and “Juice” could only come from a rapper with the type of charisma and youthful energy that Chance possesses. On the former he sings of having “burn holes in his hoodies” which gives him respect from his homies, while “my momma think I stank.” The latter’s infectious beat is primed for multiple spins on all summer playlists, and his boast that “everyone in the world fuckin’ hates the Lakers” implies the sort of invincibility and lack of respect for the establishment only seen in youth. The rapper somewhat loses his way during the middle section of the tape, but the back half holds its own against the top-heavy first half. Action Bronson and Ab-Soul show up for guest spots respectively, and “Smoke Again” is a wonderful highlight that is held together by arguably the best production here.

What we get on Acid Rap is an mixtape that is undeniably the work of a rapper still finding his way through the genre, whose highs are just as impressive as the best moments on other hip-hop albums this year, and whose lows are ultimately forgivable because of the charm and exuberance emanating from Chance throughout.

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