Chance the Rapper
Coloring Book


2.5
average

Review

by wwf USER (2 Reviews)
May 14th, 2016 | 282 replies


Release Date: 2016 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Still coloring outside the lines.

The success of 2013’s Acid Rap has quickly become somewhat of an industry legend; the mixtape had seemingly catapulted Chance the Rapper into the largest independent artist in the world overnight. Brimming with clever wordplay, brilliant delivery and an overall sense of pulsating energy, it’s not hard to see why it had the crossover appeal that it did, and even though it felt rough around the edges and slightly immature, these aspects only added to the overall verve. But it seemed Chance the Rapper proved himself to be more than just a personality with his excellent verse on Kanye West’s ‘Ultralight Beam’ earlier this year, where he took a sparse beat and played with it brilliantly with far more subtlety and poise than he had ever shown thus far in his career. His delivery snaked in and out of the track, deftly switching back and forth from a low rap to a hushed singing to a tense shout, but ultimately always kept the song’s overall dynamic goal in mind. It certainly felt like Chano was at the height of his creativity going into his third mixtape, Coloring Book.

Unfortunately, the strengths of Chance’s previous material aren’t really on display here. The demo quality that felt so real and endearing in Acid Rap often only gets in the way; there are noticeable differences in volume from track to track, most noticeably between ‘Juke Jam’ and ‘All Night’. Opening track ‘All We Got’ starts off strong with a cheery horn section that fuels the roiling beat underneath, before it is turned utterly unlistenable by borderline laughable mixing in the chorus. The lyrics don’t provide any saving graces either, taking an obnoxious viewpoint on religion, with hideous lines like, ‘I was baptized like real early/ I might give Satan a swirlie’.

This odd mentality is featured on the forefront throughout the album through the use of songs styled like hymns, like in the accurately titled ‘D.R.A.M. Sings Special’, or like in the first half of ‘How Great’, which pairs a church choir and a vocoder, which blends about as well as marijuana and generalized anxiety. When the song finally opens up in the halfway mark, Chance pairs allusions to biblical text with the first of two references in the album to Harry Potter (of all things) and Nat Turner. ‘Angels’ is perhaps the cleverest execution of the hyper-religious subject of this album, with its saccharine lyrics and lighthearted beat that quite nearly betrays the melancholy caused by the friends and family that Chance hints that he has lost. Unfortunately, by this time in the album, the religious theme has been fairly soured by the absolutely unpleasantly earlier song ‘Blessings’, which is an exercise in freudenschade.

As eccentric and unconventional Chance has proved himself to be in the past, it’s quite ironic that the best songs come when Chance is at his quietest and most reserved. ‘Summer Friends’ is an early highlight that sees Chance reminiscing on his childhood over a laid-back beat. ‘Juke Jam’ is arguably the best song on the album; it’s brilliantly produced acoustic guitar and slickly off-kilter stride provides a perfect framework for Chance’s rapping and a surprisingly well-fitting Justin Bieber feature. Similarly, the reprise of ‘Blessings’ finds Chance in, surprisingly, a nearly introspective position; his earnest verse is perhaps the most charming Chance has ever sounded on tape.

It’s only too bad that these moments of sincerity are fleeting and far between. On the chorus of ‘Mixtape’, Chance sings ‘Am I the only nigga still care about a mixtape’, but nothing on this mixtape really argues that Chance himself particularly cares. Most of the songs start out competently but go through no real progression and quickly become stale. The vast majority of Chance’s lyrics are personal yet provide no real insight into his personality; the world he paints feels lived in but does not feel lively. No bars in particular ever really stand out, and featured artist after feature artist clocks in and out without any real fanfare. Even Chance’s delivery feels tepid and uninspired, frequently repeating the same flows. In the end, considering all of its spotlight and theatrics, it’s frustrating that there simply is nothing on center stage here.


user ratings (508)
Chart.
3.3
great
other reviews of this album
cmaitland421 (2.5)
Disjointed and overly preachy, "Coloring Book" is a massive disappointment from Chance the Rapper....

related reviews

Acid Rap


Comments:Add a Comment 
wwf
May 14th 2016


6075 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

First review. Somewhat boring review for a somewhat boring album.

Conmaniac
Contributing Reviewer
May 14th 2016


23438 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

fuckkkkkkkk a review's out already and it's not a score I agree with at all ):

Conmaniac
Contributing Reviewer
May 14th 2016


23438 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

also someone is obviously an a t h e i s t



good review though I can see why people might think this is a bit boring

wwf
May 14th 2016


6075 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

Oh damn it's only been out like 36 hours, hasn't it?



Whatever, I've already listened to it like sixish times and I don't even know why really

ti0n
May 14th 2016


1769 Comments


2.5 was actually my initial raiting. but there are some gems on here which grow on you alot with "No Problem", "Summer Friends", "Same Drugs", "All Night" and the stunning closer "Blessings" being the best tracks on this one

wwf
May 14th 2016


6075 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

lmao I tried to not be too fedora but I really don't like how religion was handled on this album



religion is actually one of my favorite lyrical topics

Conmaniac
Contributing Reviewer
May 14th 2016


23438 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

all good it was well written and didn't feel rushed...just that I disagree lol. I honestly don't see the appeal in Summer Friends and Same Drugs and idk why everyone seems to love those

rabidfish
May 14th 2016


3880 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0 | Sound Off

This lacks pace, it's constantly at the verge of picking up and it falls flat one song after the other...



Still better than 10 days, but I expected more given it took 3 years to make.

Digging: Black Murder - Feasts

Conmaniac
Contributing Reviewer
May 14th 2016


23438 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

never said the review was boring! I meant I could see why people think this album is

wwf
May 14th 2016


6075 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

thanks for the kind words. I feel like the review is a bit on the short side and a little bit track-by-tracky but I'm happy with it overall

brainmelter
May 14th 2016


5676 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

awe damn, I was hearing this is decent. I'm going to check nonetheless

Digging: Banana Head - Phones the Public

jtswope
May 14th 2016


5788 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

Agree with the rating. Enjoyed some tracks on here - especially the last 3 and Same Drugs and Summer Friends. But overall pretty disappointing and a lot less eccentric and memorable than Acid Rap.

wwf
May 14th 2016


6075 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

I guess overall Id say I recommend giving this album a listen. Theres some songs that are fairly great and most people so far gave it a higher score than I did

ti0n
May 14th 2016


1769 Comments


"all good it was well written and didn't feel rushed...just that I disagree lol. I honestly don't see the appeal in Summer Friends and Same Drugs and idk why everyone seems to love those"

the lyrics are carrying these songs for the most part. the instrumentation being 2nd rank. thats what makes these songs amazing in my opinion


ti0n
May 14th 2016


1769 Comments


"how great" is so boring tho. you cant even give a damn for the 2nd part in this song cause it spends so much time repeating "How Great is the Lord" till your ears turn black. lazy songwriting occassionally

robin
Emeritus
May 14th 2016


4511 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

rules

glorybox94
May 14th 2016


957 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

We back!

wwf
May 14th 2016


6075 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

Ok whoever negged hurt my feelings

torts
May 14th 2016


4300 Comments


dude is so incredibly boring

pos BC good review, fuck who negd, and love u < 3

kris.
May 14th 2016


15029 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

so good



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