Review: Chance The Rapper – ‘The Big Day’

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The Big Day, Chance The Rapper’s passionate first dive into studio albumdom, feels as much zealous Sunday service as it does a grinning reveal of a tireless whiz kid’s first science project.

“If you blink you might miss it, you gotta click it or ticket/You gotta go get to gettin’ before it’s gone…”, implores Chance on “All Day Long”, the album’s hymnal opener.

Armed with a ‘seize the day’ mentality, the singer-rapper-songwriter preaches [and lives] a cause we can get behind. Built upon an elevating, keyboard-springy beat, the gospel-rap jaunt stirs the soul with John Legend’s smoky vocals and spawns a burst of conscious, grateful energy that seems to seep through the entirety of The Big Day.

The self-made, 26-year-old marvel has a lot to smile about: tying the knot with his long-term love this past March, expecting his second little girl, and incidentally, the garnering of a genre-wide lovability on the basis of his quirkiness and an unfound positivity that can crack any one of his competitors.

In an early interview with New Zealand radio DJ Zane Lowe, Chance professed: “The whole album has been inspired by the day that I got married and how I was dancing that day.” It’s true that his is wifey-love is refreshingly unabashed. Pumped-up wedding melodies backed with SWV harmony reinforce the young newlywed’s real joy: [“Turns out she the marryin’ kind/Very smart and she very fine, and she very kind/Give me kisses in her spare time”] on “Found A Good One (Single No More)”, Chance’s grateful ‘Hallelujah’ for partner Kirsten Corley.

For every moment on TBD, whether spent in mushy-love praise (“I Got You [Always and Forever]”), reckless club ambience (“Handsome”), or deep house dabblings (“Ballin Flossin”), Chance enlists a star-studded cast. Shawn Mendes shows up for a dance-floor cut married with a Brandy classic revamp, while Houston rap rookie/XXL freshman Megan Thee Stallion rolls in on a no-frills, shoulder-jouncing collab, bumping with 808s and production by Chance himself, Dex Coleman, and other low-profile beat-makers.

Decked in Dragon Ball trash-talk and nods to viral internet memes (see: a Sweet Brown pop-in on “Hot Shower”), The Big Day is really just a Chance vs. Chance square-off. His attempts at braggadocio are more about one-upping his own wordplay than puffed-chest insult: [“I made the three more famous than Steph/No cap, that’s a roundhouse kick to a Jameson’s neck”], and his boasts a witty display of a purely nerd core [“I got muscles like Superman’s trainer/Real real rare like Super Saiyan manga”].

TBD is a blissful collage of all that gives the young artist life at this moment in time: 90s kid-themed quips packed with superhero shout-outs, affinity for his wife and kids, and half-grinned taunts to no target in particular. He lays out these loves in sometimes-hip-hop, but mostly gospel-rap form, gratitude flowing. The effect? That of warm, church-lady hug.

Listen below.

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