Chance The Rapper - Acid Rap (Mixtape Review)

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With "Acid Rap," Chance the Rapper does more than simply entertain; he sparks a conversation that keeps the listener committed from start to finish.

It was just a little over a year ago when burgeoning Chicago-native Chance the Rapper released his debut mixtape #10Day. Drawing motivation after receiving a two-week suspension for smoking weed during his senior year of high school, the project showcased a postulating perspective from a young man with an intriguing rationale. Fine-tuning this design through a rhythmic kaleidoscope, Acid Rap veers off into a vivid world inspired by drugs, and it’s an audible odyssey that gets better with each trip.

Chance has an undeniably unique delivery, and it’s one that takes getting used to upon an initial listen. However, it’s evident his animated flow is also the kinetic backbone for his lyrical disposition. Whether he’s blunt cruising alongside Ab-Soul on “Smoke Again” or drifting through a cloud of haze on “Juice,” Chance charmingly occupies each record with pristine execution. Over a laid back cut that shouts, “Burn while listening,” the Action Bronson-assisted “NaNa” elicits a host of quotables: “Lickety-split, lickety-slipped on a shell / From peelin' banana split backs / Give me my Kit-Kat / Don't break me off shit, batch, fack is you mean bitch?”

This isn’t to say he’s ill equipped to tackle more serious matters. In fact, much like #10Day, some of his best work comes in times of reflection. “Acid Rain” is a deep narrative that touches on the death of a close friend (“My big homie died young; just turned older than him”) as well as his current state of existence. Lighter in tone, “Chain Smoker” blissfully comes off as his own personal anthem while “Everything’s Good (Good Ass Intro)” details a career that looks more promising with each passing day despite his imperfections. Putting his journey thus far into perspective, he attests, “But I knew I was fly when I was just a caterpillar / That I'd make it even if I never make a milla / When I meet my maker he gon' make sure that we chillin’.’”

This balance of lyrical gusto and thoughtfulness is brilliantly captured on “Pusha Man.” Initially presented as an exuberant record laced with visceral ad-libs, he brashly raps, “You a lame, and your bitch break down my weed sometimes / See my face in the streets, in the tweets and a Reader or a Redeye if you read Sun-Times / She got blisters on her knees, she's a fiend for the D / Even though I only beat one time.” The once-upbeat backdrop soon turns gloomy as Chance delves into the continuing violence that plagues his hometown. Articulating the stigma within his community as well as the country at large, he makes it painfully clear that the issue is far from being repaired.

“They be shooting whether it's dark or not, I mean the days is pretty dark a lot / Down here it's easier to find a gun than it is to find a fucking parking spot / No love for the opposition, specifically a cop position / ‘Cause they've never been in our position,” he rhymes.

With Acid Rap, Chance The Rapper does more than simply entertain with poetic quips and a vibrant personality; he sparks a conversation that keeps the listener committed from start to finish. It’s this steadfast conviction that separates him from the current pack of talented yet indistinct peers, and at 20 years old, the Windy City representer should have little trouble building upon what looks to be a breakthrough moment with his latest project. As if he already knows the answer, Chance facetiously ponders, “I hope you love all of my shit.” So far, so good.

DX Consensus: "Free Album" (the highest possible praise for a mixtape)

Listen to Acid Rap by Chance the Rapper.

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143 Comments

  • Anonymous

    His voice is annoying

  • Anonymous

    This is some weird shit to listen to, even for me, and I'm open to all kinds of music. I do like a few songs but man, it seems like you have to be on acid to listen to this.

  • itotia

    best set of tunes I have heard this year!

  • MaadeInAfricaa

    Best tape of this year so far! Everything is so well put together, and if you're from the Chi you have to appreciate those juke mixes. Dope project. 5/5

  • Anonymous

    kids goin places, please believe it!

  • wow

    This is AMAZING. Goodness.

  • Odeisel

    Here's how Planet Ill saw the album http://planetill.com/2013/05/mixtape-review-chance-the-rapper-acid-rap/

  • Excuse My French Toast

    The hooks and beats on this album are so catchy, the adlips add more rhythm too. Shit's clean,been playing this a lot around the bitches.

  • starmani

    This feels like a breath of fresh air. He's not a great rapper, but one day he might be 4.25/5

  • Mike Cba

    One of the most creative mixtapes I have heard in a very long time.

  • Pegasus Flow

    Solid mixtape, I was feelin it. If you didnt...then you didnt, move on.

  • HollowCreeper

    Mixtape of the year. Period.

  • Natas fan

    Esham invented Acid Rap, who is this loser? copying-ass sucka

  • Smoke

    Worst rapper ever? This is so bad, so, so horrible. 1 star

  • konexile

    The dude adlibs too much. Some of the songs are ruined by his constant squawking and nanananan'ing. Too bad cause there is potential here. 3 stars

  • Ray Thomas

    LIVE AF! NEW FAVORITE RAPPER. HANDS DOWN!

  • S.dot

    As artful as Kendrick Lamar with an extra dose of charisma. Hauntingly accurate--Summer Time.. sheesh. Best thing I've heard in years.

  • thug life

    best mixtape yet

  • zach hisel

    amazing great lyrics and great beats

  • tdotfromdabronx

    Awesome mixtape...

  • bizzarino

    best mixtape of 2013

  • Digger

    This garbage is almost as bad as Chief Keef!

  • youmakemybrainhurt

    Enough with the high school book report reviews by people who just go their first thesaurus

  • ark

    Solid mixtape. 3.75/5. Don't think it's as good as KRIT though.

  • Peper

    Sooooooooooooooooooo Freeeesh xD

  • Malik Barret-Muhammad

    this could be the best mixtape of all year

  • ...?

    Content: 4/5 Guest Spots: 4/5 Lyrics: 3.5/5 MC: 4/5 Production: 4/5

  • Brian

    Check out my review of Acid Rap over at DozensofDonuts.blogspot.com

  • Deez Nuts

    I've listened several times since it dropped and it gets better with every play

  • dmitry

    lovely flow, great beats. a solid mixtape

  • fraspi

    Nice, but not excellent

  • Anonymous

    Don't get the hype, he's corny

  • So Icy Boi!

    if he wants to sell records he should sign to YMCMB or MMG. everone flopped from Shady, GOOD and Roc Nation. swag

  • CandyRoxx

    Every time I listen to this mix-tape I have a new favorite track. To me, that just shows that a great musician is at work.

  • Matt Gardener

    It's an amazing mixtape.. My words can't express how amazed I am at this project, it should really be an album

  • ThatKidWiththeCrown

    Post-Kendrick rap.

  • Paul Rini

    All the tracks are amazing. Everyone should check it out.

  • Rain

    This, Tyler and Ghostface are albums of the year hands down!

  • Rain81

    Goddamn this mixtape is amazing, this and Covert coup are my favorite mixtapes of all time.

  • Jon

    This is legend, love chano. No song gets skipped on this tape.

  • Femdimes

    This mixtape is GOAT

  • bettaz

    Fresh follow up to #10Day, great to hear a new sound out of Chi-town.

  • Chance is raw

    Smoke Again with Ab-Soul is so dope

  • gamestwin

    5YRS AGO i called kendrick the next to bat...ima go out ona limb and say this kid is next..if he can make more ORIGINAL music like this minus features from wack rappers..(sorry i fucks with action bronson but son bit my God Ghost flow all day) he can do some real REPAIR to this fucked up hip hop game..now if he can get in the booth with DJ DX then we heading places

  • Anonymous

    this mixtape is damn great

  • Anonymous

    If you don't think this album is a 4 or 5, you either didn't listen to it, or just hatin'.

  • yeaimhere

    chi-town niggas gettin a stiff one about this kid cuz aside from Lupe they dont hav shit... throw in a few outta towners and he's blowin up... he's tryna pull some cudi-kanye nonsense thinkin he like 30 and a seasoned vet

  • chancem

    Chance is the shit, dont fuck widdit

  • Ja Rule

    I FUXX WITH ACID SHIT

  • Jay

    You guys are really some fucking idiots

  • Anonymous

    that video reminds me of sesame streets....LOL

  • Anonymous

    weirdo hipster music

  • Anonymous

    awesome album. dont think i ever heard of, or at least never paid attention to this dude before hearing this a week or so ago. It is really good. Love the jazz aspects of the beats.

  • bill

    Chance, the rapper. He been good. #10day. Best in the game.

  • Ty

    DOPE SHxT HIP-HOP CLASSIC

  • Kizman

    too bad 90% of this dudes fanbase are geeky suburban hipsters, nobody out here in Cali fuks with his music #WESTCOAST

    • bettaz

      Cali fux wit Chance, this lame speaking for Cali needs to stop. He wit Ab Soul (He must not be Cali too!) Check Chance's production, then checkout when he came out wit Complex and then stop soundin' dumb on the internet Kizman, it's not a good look. Cali kidz is better than that.

    • BlahBlaHbLaH

      Yeah sure. Because you're the almighty and you know every person who listen's to Chance. Gimme a break. If you don't like it. You don't. Don't try to knock people that do like it. Do you rap? Do we know who you are? Oh.... Okay. Of course most people from Cali haven't heard of him or don't fuck with him because they like CALI rappers. Duh. His biggest fan base is from his home town which is clearly not Cali. (Chicago if you didn't know.) You have to start somewhere and he's making a great enough start. He obviously has some recognition if you took the time out to look at this review, read it and listen. So he must be doing something quite right. Lol Chance,I love your music. Its dope. Keep it up! - Chicago stand up!

    • Anonymous

      nigga you probably know about 8 people...shut up

  • Julian

    great album. ACID RAP !

  • Hater_deluxe

    Why hasn't anyone remarked on the fact that a few of the samples utilized on this project are jacked from classics such as his song Nana? Does anyone else have a problem listening to his whining flow and corny use of wordplay at all?

    • Pegasus Flow

      Hey man, everyone's ears ain't open. They let you know though.

    • Chance The Rapper

      Sounds Like Someone Doesn't Understand What Im Saying

    • Whaaaatttt...

      Your name is clearly perfect. Lol but no. There is no problem with that. So many people use samples. Does that mean we have to be uncomfortable with the music? Kanye is the sample king and I love his music. Everyone's different though. To each his own.

  • Feildnigga

    Uh, has anyone mentioned this guy is a straight bite of ill Wayne?

  • drewrayroche

    Nananana Nana Nahhhhh! Nananana Nana Nahhhhh! Nananana Nana Nahhhhh! Nananana Nana Nahhhhh! IGH!!

  • Mick

    Bringing a bit of originality for once.

  • Anonymous

    This is being certified 10x dusty.

  • Wack wack wack

    This album is pure 0 proof wack juice. He raps retarded, maybe 3 of the beats are catchy enough for replay value. Buy R.A. The Rugged Mans album instead. Or if you want "Acid Rap" then look up Esham. The guy below is right, Chicago is running low on rappers. Instead we have a wannabe Kid Cudi.

    • Lmao

      Lol you're funny but Chicago is not the only place responsible for some wack juice rappers.Chance shows more originality than most that do come from Chicago.But comparing him to the wack ones that are that are in Chicago AND the whack ones everywhere else, he isn't that wack.You sound upset. Its okay. Lol

  • uno

    THEY RATED THIS HIGHER THAN KRIT,COLE,CUDI AND GHOST WHAT THE FUCK!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Anonymous

    They rated this a free album.!!!! This shit wack CASE CLOSED

  • Spit Hot fire like Chappelle Skit

    This shit sound like Wyclef Jean and Lil Wayne had a baby.

  • Anonymous

    FlatBush zombie flow

  • Anonymous

    Raps like he has down-syndrome. We're running low on Chicago rappers. They all getting shot r.i.p.

  • Bre

    Best project out thus far.

  • BOOM.

    Mixtape of the year.

  • Cam

    Chance the Rapper delivers an outstanding piece of art, thoroughly giving the listener a feeling that he is listening to Chance talk personally, face to face. Chance brings different vibes to the table, for any day,any mood,any drug,etc. CHANCE WADDUP REP CHI

  • yeaaahh

    This project is hella dope! He's the first rapper to come out in a while who actually has an original sound. Dope flow, delivery, lyrics, and AMAZING production. He's got next, just watch...

  • tylerg

    i took the time out of my day and typed all that shit just to give it 5 stars, i think it's clear the mixtape is a classic...

  • joaozi8

    Chance did it good! 4.5/5

  • omg this mixtape is tooo good

    rwtgr

  • omg this mixtape is tooo good

    100000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000011oooooooooooooooooooooooooo out of 5

  • ScHoolboy Q - Oxymoron

    1. BlaspHemous (Produced by Digi+Phonics) 2. Ice Cream BitcH (Produced by Mike WiLL Made It, co. Marz) 3. Oxymoron (Produced by Pharrell Williams) 4. DeatHsadvocate (Produced by Digi+Phonics) 5. Druggys wit Hoes Pt, Trois feat. Ab-Soul (Produced by Digi+Phonics) 6. Eat feat. Danny Brown (Produced by Digi+Phonics) 7. Talk My sHit (Produced by The Alchemist) 8. Yay Yay (Produced by Boi-1da, co. The Maven Boys) 9. Attitude feat. Kendrick Lamar (Produced by Pharrell Williams) 10. Grooveline Pt. 2 feat. A$AP Rocky (Produced by Mike WiLL Made It, co. Marz) 11. Ridin' HigH (Produced by The Alchemist) 12. Killing Spree feat. Action Bronson (Produced by The Alchemist) 13. Fallen Soldiers feat. Jhene Aiko (Produced by Digi+Phonics) 14. Bang Bang feat. Ab-Soul, Jay Rock & Kendrick Lamar [Black Hippy] (Produced by Digi+Phonics) 15. Gangsta (Produced by Digi+Phonics)

  • Marx1684

    Thank you for the article Mr. Ortiz. I'm a music head & you just gave me something new. Just like finding a $100 bill on the sidewalk while heading to the corner store. This intro is something serious.

  • avamis

    chance the rapper = curren$y + schoolboy q + lil wayne (sometimes)

    • yeaimhere

      how about this one: trying hard + young & uninformed + blinded by the limelight = CTR

    • Dylan Dudicle

      You can't be better at something that is subjective. Kool Herc + Kendrick Llama + Justin Bieber = Chance the Rapper

    • ...?

      Lil Wayne isn't that artist anymore... And if we're making comparisons, I'm better at it than you. Ab-Soul +Curren$y + Danny Brown + ScHoolboy Q = Chance the Rapper

    • bigdaddyflave

      agreed! and a little bit of childish gambinon! yo anti-weezy listent to chance when he's going a little bit crazy, he has something of weezy in his voice, i always have to think about "a milli", when i hear this dude!

    • Anonymous

      Mentioning Lil Wayne!? You're like a black man publicly going out with a white women in the 50s...

  • BackRooms

    Peep the interview we shot with Chance just before Acid Rap dropped. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VKMrdVbEAbc

  • avamis

    ohh my dear all-day-smocking rappers, i love u so much!!!! 5 stars

  • Aussie_Accents

    Easily up for album of the year with Ghost & Tyler

    • Sloane Decker

      Chance is obviously the man. Love this project top to bottom. It's still early to be saying 'album of the year'. A lot of quality music is coming out right now....and its early May..................

  • DJ Booth

    In the digital age, hip-hop receives a litmus test every few months. A new rapper emerges on the scene and suddenly, everybody starts talking about him or her. The buzz leading up to the "big release" from this artist spirals out of control, and it gets to the point where one has to wonder if the attention is premature. Some artists begin to blow up while they still have chinks in their armor and never get a chance to fully polish their craft without being placed under unreasonable amounts of scrutiny. Lest we ever forget, the same Internet that has given us Tyler, The Creator and Action Bronson has also created Kreayshawn. Enter Chance the Rapper. The Chicago emcee has had people talking since around this same time last year, after he dropped a mixtape titled #10Day, but attention for the project was dwarfed by the hype that surrounded fellow Chicagoan Chief Keef. The project, however, allowed for Chance to showcase his unique sung-rapped style and begin to cultivate a fan base through his live performances. By the time 2013 came around and material from his follow-up project, Acid Rap, started to flood the e-streets, the floodgates were wide open. And now, finally, the project that so many have waited for has arrived. Acid Rap begins with a "Good Ass Intro," which is a lyrical recap of Chance's life since #10Day dropped. The track, co-produced by Peter Cottontale, Cam from J.U.S.T.I.C.E. League, and Stefan Ponce, is a bouncy track, uplifted by horn riffs, and shows the amount of musical sophistication that went into the project as a whole. There are six vocalists on the track, including BJ the Chicago Kid and Lili K. Chance drifts from straight rapping into a frenzied harmonizing, having already making the bold claim that "this your favorite fuckin' album I ain't even fuckin' done." The project is constructed upon Chance's dissociative, stream-of-conscious style. At it's heart, Acid Rap is a project rooted in a "coming of age" narrative, as Chance's drug-addled thoughts spiral through the different emotions and situations he has experienced as he searches for what it means to transition from childhood to manhood. It is a project that cycles from the highs of Juice to the lows of Lost and travels everywhere in between, with Chance spinning tales of love and life as an artist on the move. Two songs epitomize Chance's knack for weaving together random ideas into a poignant concept. The previously released Acid Rain is constructed as one long verse that transitions into a singing chorus at the end. Over a lush yet somber Jake One instrumental, Chance reminisces about being a kid ("I miss my diagonal grilled cheeses, and back when Michael Jackson was still Jesus") while reliving the horrific memory of a close friend getting stabbed at a party ("I seen it happen, I seen it happen, I see it always, he still be screaming, I see his demons in empty hallways.") The vivid description conjures images in the listener's head just as the sung-rap delivery draws them in. Chance is certainly not the first rapper to employ melody in his raps, but his method is unique compared to what his peers in the industry have been doing of late. What tends to be overlooked in singing when it comes to rappers these days is the power of the voice being used. R&B and soul singers tend to have silky-smooth, polished voices. Chance lacks this, as do most rappers. But where some of the latter try to drown that deficiency in Auto-Tune or other programming to create a false sense of polish (See Drake, Future, Nicki Minaj etc. etc.) Chance taps into his natural voice devoid of effects. As a result, the raw emotion of his voice has a powerful effect, and can sometimes convey the message just as powerfully as the lyrics themselves. Chicago's struggles with crime and violence are well-documented at this point, and the city's music scene has approached the issue in differing ways, either by glossing over it with broad, generalized brush strokes or by embracing it as a culture that cannot be escaped. Of course, Chance grapples with it directly numerous times, with the most clarity coming on "Pusha Man," a song that also sees him experiment with song structure. The first part of the song has the Chi-Town native reflect on how life has not changed much for him in the last year, despite his newfound fame. Suddenly, the beat cuts off and there is silence for almost thirty seconds, which is followed by a new beat, slower in tempo. Here, Chance lets out his feelings about the violence in his city and how unresponsive the media has been to the situation. "They merkin kids, they murder kids here" Chance declares, choosing a monotone delivery for his point to stick. "Why you think they don't talk about it? They deserted us here. Where the fuck is Matt Lauer at? Somebody get Katie Couric in here, probably scared of all the refugees, looks like we had a fucking hurricane here." The thirty-second silence is a risky move, and will definitely have some people scratching their head and thinking that there is a glitch in the file. The beat could have transitioned in a smoother manner, or had a shorter gap. Regardless, the song itself is an attempt to at least introduce a conversation to a topic that people choose to gloss over, which in a word is admirable. On the opposite end of the spectrum comes "Favorite Song," an extremely upbeat song that is guaranteed to get a party rocking. The chorus is infectious, and Chance's melodic verses are also catchy enough. The song is anchored by a blistering closing verse from Childish Gambino, and this verse is arguably one of Gambino's finest in awhile. "You blast this shit in Abercrombie when your work is finished," Gambino taunts, adding, "Your mom won't play it in the car cause it's got cursing in it." One of the unique facets of Acid Rap comes in its features. The most surprising collaboration comes on the impressive "Cocoa Butter Kisses." The song finds Chance reminiscing about fonder childhood memories and remarking on how his relationship with his mother has changed over time, with his smoking habit partially serving as a catalyst for that change. It is a verse that many youthful listeners can certainly relate with, and fellow Save Money representer Vic Mensa offers a similar vibe. The closing verse on the song, however, comes from Chicago legend Twista, a few generations ahead of them. He puts his double-time flow to excellent use, managing to relate to the theme of the song. His closing line on the song is priceless: "Never too old to get a spanking." While Gambino and Twista, two emcees with a track record of inconsistency, deliver potent guest verses on the project, two of the more consistent emcees struggle a bit. Action Bronson certainly delivers some highlight punchlines in his comedic manner ("I got a team of hoes like Pat Summit"), but his verse on "Na Na" is certainly not his strongest effort. The same can be said for TDE's Ab-Soul, who has some mildly entertaining (albeit fairly disturbing) lines and not much else. The production on Acid Rap works brilliantly to augment the catchiness and emotion that Chance is able to tap into. Helmed mainly by in-house producer Nate Fox, the sound is varied, dense, and cohesive, coming together to create a beautiful aural experience. It's a sound that is utterly unique and stands on its own, outside of the subgenres that hip-hop conversations are held in. It is definitely a refreshing listen from start to finish. Chance the Rapper has certain traits that will not make him ubiquitously appealing, especially in the contentious world of hip-hop. His voice in particular can be grating, similar to Danny Brown's. It is high-pitched and a bit shrill at times. At the same time, he is not a traditional rhymer, and his rhyme schemes tend to be elementary in nature. He would not necessarily endear himself to hip-hop purists. But there is no denying that with his knack for catchy melodies, descriptive songwriting, and excellent beat selection, Chance displays qualities on Acid Rap that have the potential to catapult him into superstardom. As a project itself, Acid Rap is one sweet, smooth musical journey that grapples with some serious topics in a pleasing manner. DJBooth Rating - 4.5/5 Spins

  • MikeNatick

    Unreal...and original

  • able the designer

    best up and coming artist... from the hometown!

  • Anonymous

    Kid CuDi + A$AP Rocky...

  • LOL

    LOL @Starfox the life you live must be so petty if thats what you are going with Go play your N64 ya lil nerdo bitch...stay off the big boy sites

  • StarFox64

    dudes pops works for the government, thats enough for me to never listen to this dude..

    • Anonymous

      this is dumbest thing i've read on this site...even dumber than that ymcmb troll

    • ...?

      2 words... Barack Obama

    • DaPhatSpotRusher

      I agree, like father like son, the apple don't fall far from the tree, etc. I can't risk becoming a fan of his, and then he switches up his message and becomes a conduit for government misinformation, provided to him by his pops. Good Call Fox. It happens all the time too, listen to Alex Jones podcast.

    • You Know

      Thats bout the dumbest thing I ever heard. Ain't no reason to turn down good music for something foolish like that