The second mixtape by the young Chicago rapper was released with a great degree of expectation from various publications. This hype allowed Acid Rap to become widespread, and is now one of the most critically acclaimed mixtapes in years. A vocal style similar to that of Danny Brown, with a flow like Kendrick at times, and production as smooth as early day Kanye, Chance has proven that he has potential to be one of the strongest in the hip hop industry.
Opener and highlight “Good Ass Intro” arguably contains two of the tightest verses on the record, and is a pure showcase for his talent behind the mic, and how well he adheres to soul sampled backdrops. Standout “Cocoa Butter Kisses” is one of the best produced tracks on the mixtape, with a killer hook and two stellar guest verses courtesy of Vic Mensa and Twista, and is likely to be essentially everyone’s most repeated tune on the album. The memorable, upbeat and playful tracks “Juice” and “Favorite Song” show his lighter side, with Chance literally laughing at his own lyrics (Till you realize everybody in the world fucking hates the Lakers) in the former, and Childish Gambino doing the same in the latter (White dude’s Harlem Shake, why you laughing? Cause you Harlem Shake).
The incredible wordplay on “Interlude” make it one of the most memorable tracks off any album this year, and is a must listen to understand the complexity and nature of Chance’s music. From the first lyric of “What’s better than tripping is falling in love” to the final message “There ain’t nothing better than falling in love”, the verse in this track could well end up being one of the best verses of 2013. The album’s best track is “Chain Smoker” with its incredibly catchy chorus, smooth verses and stunning production. “Lot of niggas wanna go out with a bang, but I ain’t tryna go out at all”, he says, contrary to regular stereotypes within the hip hop industry, showing that he really is trying to portray a new image as a Chi-town rapper.
The album isn’t perfect, but it still remains one of the most fluid and cohesive hip hop albums in years. And although it does drag at times, Acid Rap has high points that will be hard to beat in 2013. When an ‘Interlude’ is better lyricized and more tightly constructed than almost every hip hop track released this year, you know that a record will have a long shelf-life. “I ain’t really that good at goodbyes, I ain’t really that bad at leaving” he quips on the closer, and after this incredibly assured sophomore mixtape, no one wants him to do either. Look forward to his eventual full length studio release, he is one of the brightest hip hop artists in years.
Verdict – 8.5
Top Songs – “Good Ass Intro”, “Cocoa Butter Kisses”, “Chain Smoker”