Chance the Rapper // Acid Rap “_”
by will brennan on May 6, 2013
Posted in: Album Review, Hip Hop, Music
Artist: Chance the Rapper
Album: Acid Rap
Label: $ave Money
Release Date: April 30
Genre: Acid Rap
Key tracks: “Cocoa Butter,” “Acid Rain,” “Lost”
Although high school was not the best of times, they were interesting times for me as an awkward adolescent. Many reasons lead me to say this, but one big one is the fact that I was able to surround myself with some crazy people like Chance the Rapper. As a student in a selective enrollment public high school in Chicago who had just moved into the Windy City, I had no idea what the hell I was doing in this foreign space. I was surrounded by a tight network of kids who had been in the Chicago Public Schools (CPS) system their entire lives and were a pretty tight group. I was coming from New York City, so I was automatically “that headass white boy” because no one in Chicago likes New York City. I had no reason to hang out with other kids my age, because we didn’t share much in common. But that didn’t matter. It took a lot of embarrassing and awkward encounters, but I finally surrounded myself with an interesting group of people. I wouldn’t call most of them good friends, but they all had a sense of ambition and determination that they tried to hide by playing it cool as much as possible. Most individuals within this group had very big personalities. Some characters experimented with visual art, others with music. Bands within the group formed, such as Twin Peaks, and as they each developed they formed not only original sounds, but original thoughts that still stick with me.
One of these musicians was Chance the Rapper. The first time I met Chance was after a show he put on at my high school. The show was definitely a lowlight in his rapping career to say the least. The event was for my school’s trip to Paris in the spring, and my friend and I went to fill space in the auditorium because our mutual friend had organized the event and begged us to come. While walking out of the front doors Chance turned to me and my friend and handed us his mixed tape. He told us to have a listen and thanked us for coming to the show. I wasn’t particularly interested in the mixed tape, but knew that it was nice of him to come all the way to our high school to perform at a venue he probably dreaded going to weeks before. After our somewhat awkward encounter my friend and I ran into him again outside a Jimmy John’s. He was with some friends of ours from school, and came up to us and asked for a cigarette. We made small talk for a bit about what he was doing and how we liked high school. It was a polite but frank conversation, and afterwards we went our separate ways. I saw him a couple times at some SaveMoney parties that always got busted, and a few times at random parties around the city. I never really knew what his deal was, but one thing I knew was that he was passionate about what he did as an artist.
I never thought much else of Chance while in high school. He was just another kid “fighting the system” one square at a time. But now that I’ve left Chicago and reflected on my experiences in high school, I’ve realized how much the original minds I met have shaped my present perceptions of reality. I’m ultimately grateful to have witnessed young musicians make their mark not for fame or money, but because they love what they do.
Chance the Rapper’s Acid Rap is simply a product of his surroundings. His verses about Jones College Prep, tripping on acid, chilling with friends, and struggling with his mental complexities paint a blurry, but profound, picture of life in the chi. It’s not glamorized in any way, but simply presents reality as it is. The featured artists are fellow comrades in the Chicago rap scene, such as Vic Mensa from Kids These Days, and other rappers repping $aveMoney (check them out here). The album is flavorful, it’s real, and it treats the hell out of Chief Keef. Watch out for this guy, and watch out for Chicago’s music scene.