Headliner: Chance the Rapper
Representing: Southside of Chicago
Mixtape: Acid Rap
Real Spit: Chance the Rapper laced his 13-track mixtape Acid Rap with nostalgic samples that evoke a sense of familiarity despite the freshness of the songs. But over those melodic beats, he also provides listeners with the opportunity to question themselves and popular discourse.
“I’m not really worried about co-signs or being accepted by the hip-hop community at this point,” Chance tells MTV News. “My come-out record, 10 Day, was the thing people were supposed to hear and figure out ‘he’s good’ or ‘he’s not good. Acid Rap is the comeback tape and it asks way bigger and better questions than ‘Is he good at rapping?’ It’s an important project that people will listen to, gain insight on the world from, and ask themselves questions that need to be asked.”
One of those thoughtful takeaways would be the extent to which racial stigmas still affect the interaction of youth in minority neighborhoods. It’s a topic that Chancelor Bennett broaches on “Everybody’s Something,” a track which was inspired by his own experience growing up on the Southside of Chicago, and amplified by Lil Durk’s musings about chopping off his dreads on the mixtape Life Ain’t No Joke.
“Everybody’s Something”: “I used to tell h–s I was dark light or off white, but I’ll fight if a n—a said that I talk white/ And both my parents was black but they saw it fit that I talk right/ With my drawers hid but my hard head stayed in the clouds like a lost kite.”
Lyrical breakdown: “There’s just this stigma of self-hatred [within] the black community. People wanna say that they’re part Native American or mixed, or anything other than black. We’re raised to believe that there’s something better about not being fully black, something eccentric about it. I’m saying I used to tell girls that I was mixed, which is a bold-faced lie! I’m light skinned and I used to lean on that because that’s something a lot of black people pride themselves on and it’s weird. I would even go lengths to lie and say that I’m mixed or biracial when in another light, I’d fight if a n—-a said that I talked white.
“The idea of ‘talking white,’ a lot of people grew up around that, just the idea that if you speak with proper diction and come off as educated that it’s not black and that it’s actually anti-black and should be considered only something that white people would do. It’s just a weird juxtaposition for someone who, growing up, was so into being of a higher class and aligning with light skinned or bi-racial people, but couldn’t deal with the accusation of ‘talking white.’ I was knocking ni—s out quickly for that sh–.
Additional Joints to check for:
“Good Ass Intro” With its heavy acid jazz, gospel and Chicago juke music influence, “Good Ass Intro” is what Chance calls the most important track on the album. “It’s the perfect thesis for who I am as an artist. The sample is actually a vocal sample from John Legend, buried really deep in there, from Kanye West’s “Good Intro” on his Freshmen Adjustment 2 mixtape. I was listening to that a lot when I was finishing the tape and it’s hard not to take something from Kanye because he’s just a huge influence for anybody who makes music post 2004. Even in production the track mirrors Kanye’s process; there’s four producers including me, three trumpets, six vocalists — it’s just a really big track.”