Monday, December 23, 2013

Unreleased Material From Chance The Rapper

Chicago native, Chance The Rapper, has owned 2013 with his critically acclaimed mixtape Acid Rap, following with The Social Experiment Tour, which sold out in almost every city and then on to collaborate with pop sensation Justin Beiber on the hit record “Confident.” 10 Day, Chance’s first official mixtape, served as the introduction to this young emcee and Acid Rap solidified his place as an artist to be reckoned with.

On December 10, two unreleased mixtapes from Chance’s early music days surfaced via Facebook: Good Enough and Back To School Pack. The mixtapes were collaborations with his friend and music partner Justin (J-emcee) who formed the duo Instrumentality in high school. Although the original dates of these tapes are unknown, the material is somewhere between 3-5 years old as Datpiff first discovered.

It is absolutely remarkable listening to these two projects and hearing the already developed sound that we all thought was established with Acid Rap. The first track on Good Enough, which is also the title track, begins with the profound question: Who do you call when your dreams don’t call back? Chance then tells the story of his first interaction with the music industry and submitting music to Roc-A-Fella producer J Brown. Chance was told he wasn’t “good enough.” He then follows with the triumphant response, “we revolt against that thought, this is the product of a revolution.” The song picks up and becomes inspirational for everybody with a dream and who were ever told they weren’t good enough. Chance urges everybody that “you aren’t just good enough, you are simply amazing.”

The following track, Chance spits over the Coldplay “In My Place” sample and explains who he is as an artist: “I swear I’m Hercules, mixed with a little Freddie Mercury, mixed with Kanye and a little MJ.” He goes on to explain that he is exactly who he’s always been, which apparently was an incredibly talented musician who pushed boundaries in hip hop from the beginning.

The next track, “Something Bout Us,” offers something totally different sonically as Chance raps about being intrigued by a woman despite poor timing. This track, easy to digest and bump, further proves how remarkably diverse Chance is musically. Other standouts of the tape are Chance’s rendition of “Hometown (Cali)” featuring the sample originally made popular by Adele on her debut album and “NvrSayNvr” which explains the darkness and depth of the project and provides some insight on his journey in finding himself as an innovative artist in the industry.

Back To School Pack is not as strong as Good Enough, but with only five songs, it’s still a great body of work and definitely worth listening to. Stepping away from the introverted music that appeared on Good Enough, Chance dives into progressive rap and provides an incredibly conscious track with “Dear Chicago Summer.” He spits, “maybe I need a geography class or something, but when did Chicago become a part of East Compton and when did the Windy City become we’ll blow you all away? And when did throwing hands become the hoish move to play?” Chance expresses his frustration with the growing violence in his hometown, but in a calm manner spitting facts that are daunting and provocative.

Both of these unreleased mixtapes are gems and offer a bit of history of who Chance The Rapper was prior to 10 Day and Acid Rap. At only twenty years old, Chance stands as one of the top emcees in the game and these tapes make it clear that he has been developing his artistry for years now. Incorporating melodic rhymes, singing choruses, and innovative sound, these elements that were made popular on Acid Rap were always part of his repertoire. We sometimes forget that musicians have a whole come up catalog that is often overlooked by the breakout mixtape or single that changed their status in the industry. I’m glad we were able to receive this old material and get a glimpse of early Chance days, which only makes me excited for what’s to come from this talented emcee. With Good Enough and Back To School Pack being basically forgotten and Acid Rap being the debut, I can’t even imagine what innovative and creative music Chance The Rapper has in store for 2014.

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