Chance the Rapper's The Big Day is a Little Disappointing
When Chance the Rapper won the Grammy Award for Best New Artist in 2017, he did it on the back of his mixtape Coloring Book. At the time, I wrote that listening to Coloring Book was listening to his artistic evolution in real time. The leap between Acid Rap and Coloring Book was immense, and so far the latter mixtape is the pinnacle of Chance’s musical career.
Which leads us to The Big Day, Chance the Rapper’s debut “album,” although that term is losing currency and has much less of a meaning than it did 30 or 40 years ago (case in point: Spotify lists Coloring Book and Acid Rap as albums too, even though they are technically mixtapes). The album is certainly not bad. But it is a very uneven debut that has highs and lows punctuated by classic Chance music.
“We Go High,” “Do You Remember” (ft. Benjamin Gibbard), “Roo” (ft. Taylor Bennet, Chance’s brother), “5 Year Plan,” and “Zanies and Fools” (ft. Nicki Minaj) are all standouts that showcase the musical talent that made Chance famous. The rest of the tracks are either good as background music (“Eternal,” “All Day Long,” “The Big Day”) or are just plain bad (“Hot Shower,” “Get a Bag,” “Ballin Flossin”). Chance also interspersed a few vocal skits set at a wedding to support the theme, and in one case (“Our House”) showcase his young daughter’s perspective on her parents reuniting in marriage.
The best thing about The Big Day is that it is easy to cherry pick and create a mixtape of the best tracks. That is also the worst thing about it: there is too much filler and not enough consistency. Chance has clearly grown up, and in this sense the album portrays him in an inspirational light. But in terms of music, The Big Day is a little disappointing.
Stars: 2 (out of four)
Genre: Hip hop
Label: None (self-release)