2016, Music

Coloring Book (2016) by Chance the Rapper

I must admit that I have no idea what differentiates a mixtape from an album when everything is digital. Is it aesthetic? Is there some aesthetic thing here I’m missing that makes this a mixtape not an album? I’m sure there is.

I’m just lost with this and it’s not because I don’t know what a mixtape. I have heard of Chance before but I didn’t know anything about him. I didn’t know “No Problem” was him and I have no idea where I first heard it.

Like a lot of contemporary rappers, Chance sings and I can’t say I love it when he does. (Though I’ll take him over a lot of others.) Other times he sort of mumbles. While he’s rapping I mean. I know that’s a thing, but I thought it was a thing in which people just did that. Maybe it’s showing off his versatility.

There are an absolute ton of guests here. (Maybe that’s what makes it a mixtape?) I don’t know enough about many of them to know when it’s a guest vs. just some anonymous backup singer/rapper. I have to look at the credits. (There are also samples of other people, right? Or am I imagining things?)

Some of the songs are pretty catchy. I was listening to another 2016 hip hop album recently that had far less catchy songs. So that’s something in its favour.

The production is often interesting and creative but too often it feels like everything is just pitched up. There are certain moments where it feels like somebody was just like “When in doubt, pitch the sample up” and then there are tracks where there’s none of that. Especially in the early going there is too much harmonizer or whatever on the vocals. I’t hard for me to detect the method to that madness though I will say there’s a lot going on and it’s certainly creative.

But listening to this brings me back to when I first started actively listening to hip hop and I was just utterly confused. The different co-producers definitely give it a slightly incoherent feel and, is it me, or is Chance not even on some of these tracks? (On just an interstitial. Never mind.)

Anyway, I suspect this is decent. People seem to think it is. But I have no idea.


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