Top 15 Albums at 15 | #12 Coloring Book
Aug 27, 2016 • Matt • ~ 7 minute read • 908 words
This next album isn’t really an album, but a mixtape: it’ll also be the first mixtape eligible for a Grammy. It’s also probably the only coloring book used by adults. I’m excited to present to you:
Album #12: Coloring Book, by Chance the Rapper
I’m a Redditor gasp. While I’m not as immersed in most of the larger communities there (like
/r/gaming) there are a few subreddits that I frequent everyday:
/r/mechanicalkeyboards, and relevant to this conversation,
/r/hiphopheads is a very, very passionate community around listening to hip-hop: they have weekly album listens, rap news, and my most favourite part, Game Threads (and [FRESH] music!). Game threads are pretty hard to put into words, but basically the subreddit gets together as new music is coming out. We go wait together, we go wild together, and we meme together.
Unfortunately, when rap artists release music it doesn’t always happen as planned. For Chance the Rapper’s Coloring Book, that was no exception. Chance is known for releasing his music completely free, with his last two mixtapes Acid Rap and 10 Day being publicly available. Chance 3 (as the project was known) was suspected to be similar: a full release on datPiff or similar mirror sites. Unfortunately, it didn’t seem like that was the case: at the last minute, Chance announced that Coloring Book would be an Apple Music Exclusive for 2 weeks, before being released to the general public as a free mixtape. Some people were pissed. The reddit post is a complete graveyard, mostly since people were angry and/or asking for mirrors. Someone streamed the album on Twitch; others wanted to boycott Apple Music; and others were waiting until 2 AM for a legit mirror.
I was one of those hopefuls looking for more Chance: I loved Acid Rap, and Angels, a song that was released earlier in the year, was truly angelic! So, I waited. And when news came out that it was going to be an Apple Music exclusive, I was a bit bummed out (I’m a big spotify stan). But that’s alright; I tuned into the Twitch stream and jammed out to All Night and Blessings. And I waited. At 11 AM, no progress. It was a school night. At 12 AM, no progress. I normally go to sleep by now. At 1 AM, no progress. Goddamn. And, lo and behold, around 1:18 AM (according to Twitter) DatPiff accidentally released a mirror. I hopped on that shit quick, put it on my Spotify through the local tracks feature, and went to sleep happy. The day after, I popped on some threads and watched discussion; I talked to my real life friends about what they thought about the album; and I definitely felt like blessings were falling into my lap.
Why did I spend three paragraphs explaining you something that I could’ve said in three sentences? Well, the music experience isn’t just listening to the music itself: it’s also the buildup to getting the album, it’s waiting all night for All Night, it’s talking to friends. Coloring Book was probably the most social album I’ve experienced, since it’s so recent but also so freaking awesome. It helped me make stronger friendships, get involved more in the music community, and just listen to music smarter, no matter how cliché that sounds.
Before I talk about the wide social effects of the album, let’s actually talk about why I liked Coloring Book. It has the same charismatic, emotional, and passionate Chance that we’re used to: but this time, exploring life, love, friendship, and happiness. Again, sounds very cliché, but Chance actually handles these big, deep questions pretty handedly. In Same Drugs, Chance uses what kind of drugs friends do as a metaphor to different stages in peoples’ lives, and how that can change relationships and perspectives: while I can’t relate with the drug part, how he delivers the lines hit home with me. It’s something everybody experiences. Juke Jam just makes me want to slow dance; No Problem gets me hyped for almost anything. How Great has a spiritual tie in, and acts as motivation; and Angels is just a feel-good song. Chance is able to craft an amazing picture, and an amazing story, through amazing lyrics, delivery, and production. I loved it.
But that’s not why this album is on this list. I hella loved this album, but I wasn’t the only one: I talked to friends, to the online community, and to even random strangers about what we did like about the album. I was able to bond with friends talking about Summer Friends. I think that listening to music is a social event: listening in just isolation is very, very different from listening as a group. The discussion you get, the smiles and the laughs that you get, that’s another part of the music experience. Waiting in a Game Thread for 3 hours for an album, that’s another part of the music experience. And I’m happy that Coloring Book taught me that listening to music is full of different ways to colour in the lines.
Favourite Songs: No Problem, Summer Friends, Blessings, Same Drugs, Angels, Juke Jam, All Night, How Great, Finish Line/Drown, Blessings
Thanks for reading! Hopefully the next album doesn’t make you feel any anxiety or panic, that’d be bad.
Until next time!