- 21 Aug 19
Ambitious debut from rap superstar.
It feels crazy calling The Big Day - Chance the Rapper's latest - a debut album. The Chicago performer has been making waves for years, based solely on free mixtapes with 2016's Coloring Book winning him three Grammys.
Yet, The Big Day is technically Chance's first official studio album and it seems the rapper has taken steps to make it feel more substantial than past releases. Clocking in at over 77 minutes, it's a concept record focusing around his wedding this year to long-time girlfriend Kirsten Corley. In line with the marriage theme is the album's eclectic guest list. Collaborators and producers include Death Cab For Cutie, Gucci Mane, John Legend, Justin Vernon, Nicki Minaj, Randy Newman and Timbaland.
The wedding hook lets Chance deliver a joyous collection of songs, while probing themes of love, family, commitment, religion, the past and the future. Mostly his happiness is infectious. The pop-rap of 'All Day Long' starts the LP in the giddiest way possible. Featuring a catchy chorus from Legend, Chance sings with excitement: "Took it the scenic route, but this is the way/ They gon' miss us today, you a missus today," over bright fast-paced synths.
Similarly sincere yet fun is 'Let's Go On The Run', a honeymoon anthem where Chance spits about hitting the beach over a jazzy instrumental and catchy 'doo-doo' backing vocals. Touching tribute to childhood summers 'Do You Remember' feels like a wedding dinner speech designed to leave not a dry eye in the house, as does 'Sun Come Down', exploring the 'til death do us part' section of the vows.
It's hard to ignore the record's obscene length. The album's 'skits' could all be discarded, along with the annoyingly auto-tune heavy 'Get A Bag' or the titular track with its cringey breakdown into screaming. Still, Chance tries to keep proceedings fresh, blending more straight-forward hip-hop ('Hot Shower') with R&B ('Found A Good One') and soul ('I Got You') across the record.
The Big Day is like attending a friend's wedding. It goes on way too long and you endure plenty of self-indulgence from the married couple. But you'll also dance and leave feeling happy.
Out now, self-released.