It’s May of 2013. “Time for school, honey!” Your mother calls from downstairs. You get dressed, pairing one of your five T-shirts with one of your three pairs of basketball shorts. Your Nintendo DS is fully charged and you’re off for another day of eighth grade. Unbeknownst to you, Chance the Rapper has just dropped his sophomore mixtape, Acid Rap, which would later be certified Diamond on DatPiff.com.
For me, middle school was a time before I had any aesthetic taste of my own. My musical palette consisted of alternative and other dad-rock my father listened to when I was growing up – that was, until I heard Chance the Rapper’s Acid Rap on accident. I remember hearing “Cocoa Butter Kisses” for the first time and being put off by Chance’s raspy voice and trademark “IGH!” ad-lib. But I would not be writing this today if Acid Rap had not grown to become one of my most cherished hip-hop projects to date.
From the very first track, “Good Ass Intro”, Chance the Rapper exudes charisma. Over an equally upbeat instrumental, he establishes himself as the lovable class-clown type that you can’t help but root for. He brings the same energy on tracks like “Pusha Man”, “Juice”, and “Favorite Song”.
However, it’s not all fun and games in Chance’s world. Coming from Chicago’s south side, it is clear that he’s seen his share of terrible things: according to the hidden track “Paranoia”, “Down here, it’s easier to find a gun/Than it is to find a f—— parking spot”. Chance further reflects on the violence he grew up around on the track “Acid Rain”, where he recalls witnessing the murder of his best friend.
While Acid Rap does have its depressive lows, it is clear that Chance chooses joy in spite of them. The confluence of hip-hop, jazz, soul, and Chicago juke music convey a sense of unstoppable excitement that is reflected in Chance’s off-the-wall approach to rapping. Though some tracks pale in comparison to others, this mixtape has a charm that few other records possess. If I were to pinpoint a single project that got me into hip-hop music, it would be Chance the Rapper’s Acid Rap.
Favorite Tracks: Cocoa Butter Kisses, Juice, Interlude (That’s Love), Acid Rain
– DJ Mango