Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Chance the Rapper - "Good Ass Intro"

This is going to come off as contrarian, but I’m still not sold on Chance the Rapper’s Acid Rap mixtape and I actually think his debut 10Day is better. The problem for me is that I’m still struggling with both his beat selection, which often leaves me unimpressed, and his vocal delivery, in which he seems to be emphasizing the more grating aspects of his voice in a way that he never did before. Still, the hype surrounding Acid Rap has surpassed that of nearly every other rap record of the year,[1] so I’m still trying my best to get into it. I thought Chance would never resonate fully for me, but right now I’m on my fourteenth listen of “Good Ass Intro” in a row and it’s finally starting to come together. “Good Ass Intro” is a hubristic title in two respects: first, most songs don’t declare how good they are in the fucking title; and second, it’s a subtle[2] nod to fellow Chicagoan Kanye West’s intended title for his follow-up to Graduation, Good Ass Job, that was scrapped when some ex-girlfriend made him all weepy and he made 808s & Heartbreak instead. The cockiness it takes to compare himself to an artist of Kanye’s stature and embrace his own high self-image simultaneously should be infuriating, but the song is so incredible that concerns about cockiness are rendered invalid. This is the kind of song that makes careers. Call it his “Bonita Applebaum” or his “I Used to Love H.E.R.” or his “Universal Magnetic” or his “Fuck Your Ethnicity” (if you’re into the ‘Chance the Rapper is Chicago’s Kendrick’ argument), but regardless of what you call it, this is the sound of a potentially great artist arriving.

Acid Rap can only go downhill from here since “Good Ass Intro” is one of the best rap songs of the year so far. Not only is it amazing, but it has given me faith in Chance as an artist that has made me willing to overlook my reservations about him as a rapper and songwriter. He’s still only twenty years old, and he’s got a long way he can come to live into his hype, but I’m finally willing to admit I was wrong about him.

[1] I really hope I’m not the only one still listening to Indigoism, but damn if that hype didn't die down quickly. It sometimes feels like I'm the only one left.
[2] It’s subtle, but I doubt it’s unintentional since he repeatedly references getting a good ass job near the end of the song.

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