Since he arrived in our collective consciousness, Chance The Rapper has been fashioning his own lane. Prone to capitalizing on any opportunity that’s put in front of him, he’s been turning shortcomings and limitations into positive attributes ever since he transformed a high school suspension into an immensely productive spell of recording. Where other teens would’ve let those days idly dwindle by, Chano used his suspension for marijuana possession to lay the building blocks for one of the most successfully independent hip-hop careers of all time with 10 Day. His debut tape and its seminal follow-up Acid Rap signified the arrival of a new force in hip-hop that was capable of benevolence, introspection or brashness dependent on the task at hand.

Capped off by the Apple Music-affiliated Coloring Book in 2016, this introductory trilogy of mixtapes ingratiated Chance into the realm of the hip-hop elite. With his mind hovering in the consecrated clouds and his feet still treading on the windswept streets of the city that raised him, Chi-town’s biggest ambassador since pink-polo-Kanye is bringing the curtain down on the first chapter of his career with a soon to be released debut LP. Tentatively referred to as his Owbum, the project marks the culmination of years of relentless work to leverage his cathartic brand of gospel-infused material into a favourable position in the mainstream. Labelled corny by his detractors and uniquely authentic by his legion of fans, the fact that the world is waiting with baited breath on his next move hasn’t made Chancellor Bennett any more forthcoming with information. Set to be released on an unspecified date this month, we’ve decided to compile each and every morsel of information that we have on his debut record.


THE DIRECTION

Across his catalogue to date, Chance has been unwilling to pigeonhole himself into one particular subset of the hip-hop world. Granted, his maniacal ad-lib and lyrical content may all emanate from the same ballpark, but the production and arrangements have always been subject to renovation. Even across his spree of 2018 singles– “I Might Need Security,” “Work Out,” “65th & Ingleside,” “My Own Thing,” “The Man Who Has Everything” and “Wala Cam” — he rejected the notion that there had to be any common thread that bound them in favour of wading into whatever he saw fit. This carried through into last month’s dance challenge-centric “Groceries.”

On account of his penchant for capturing the dizzying sensations of euphoria in his music, it should come as no surprise that Chance has said that he’s aiming to evoke the feeling of one of the happiest days of his life on his debut project. During an interview with Zane Lowe that marked the release of his last single, Chano revealed that the music which sound tracked his wedding day had been a driving force in what he hoped to accomplish:

“The whole album has been inspired by the day that I got married and how I was dancing that day,” he said. “We had a reception with the legendary DJ Pharris. And we all danced our hearts out. It was the hardest I ever danced in my life and I’m a great longtime dancer. Everything in it is all the different styles of music that make me want to dance and remind me of that day and remind me of that night and all those people that were there.”

As far as other recurring motifs go, it’s important to note that this record comes in the aftermath of an extended period of scripture reading. Back in December, Chance took to Instagram to proclaim that he was headed out on a religious secondment:

“I’m on a plane headed out the country on my first sabbatical,” he declared. “I’m going away to learn the Word of God which I am admittedly very unfamiliar with. I’ve been brought up by my family to know Christ but I haven’t taken it upon myself to really just take a couple days and read my bible. we all quote scripture and tell each other what God likes and doesn’t like but how much time do we spend as followers of Jesus to really just read and KNOW his Word.”

Known to strike a balance between the secularist and the spiritual, it’ll be interesting to see if the scales tip in favour of praise-giving after his short pilgrimage. But while that may be unsubstantiated, what we do know for certain is that it won’t be a carbon copy of anything that’s came before. Bowled over as he is with his accomplishments to date, Chance stated that there’d be no reruns back in February of this year. Taking to Twitter, he announced that:

“I’ll always be immensely proud of what I did with Coloring Book. Same Drugs, Summer Friends and Juke Jam are some the realest songs I’ve ever written so u dont have to defend Coloring Book to me. It happened, it made history but I did it already. The album won’t be acid rap either.”


FEATURES

From his first tentative steps into the game, Chance has always leapt at the chance to work with likeminded individuals. Just on Coloring Book alone, he summoned an array of talent to come through and aid that encapsulated Lil Wayne, 2 Chainz, Saba, Justin BieberYoung ThugFutureJay Electronica, “My Cousin Nicole” and more.

Regularly pinpointed as the closest thing that Chance has ever had to a mentor during his career, one man that appeared on his last project and seems earmarked for inclusion on the next is Kanye West. Bonded by their closely held faith, their hometown of Chicago and the desire for creative freedom, the two have been spotted together on numerous occasions over the past couple of years and it seems all but a foregone conclusion that he’ll appear on at least one track. Aside from explicitly stating that he was in Chi-town to work with Chano in August of last year, footage emerged of the two cooking up some vintage Michael Jackson samples in the studio. On top of that, Chance frantically gyrated to some house-indebted jams from Kanye at Sunday Service. Given the genre’s roots in their native Windy City, it wouldn’t be surprising to see them contribute their own entry into that storied tradition.

Praised by Chance for getting him a dream role in the new live action adaptation of Disney’s The Lion King, another man that’s been instrumental in his career is Donald Glover, better known to hip-hop fans as Childish Gambino. While a collaborative project between the two has been bandied about for years on end, Chance’s remarked to Peter Rosenberg that they had plenty of material that was lying in wait during a trip to Open Late:

“We’ve got six songs that are all fire, he claimed,  but I think the album is going to be more than 14 songs.”

Now that we know that the two have been in close proximity to one another during The Lion King’s filming, there’s every chance that it resulted in a newly-crafted spate of material that could make its way on to the new LP. A track which infamously gained the ire of Joe Budden for being “too positive,”all signs point to his collaboration with Daniel Caesar manifesting itself into a track known as “First World Problems” while video has emerged of Chano teaching gospel artist Kirk Franklin a few steps in the unmistakable surroundings of a recording studio back in June. Fresh off the heels of appearing on YBN Cordae’s “Bad Idea,” it’d be interesting to see whether their time together equated to a collaborative track on each artist’s new record. On top of that, an April 2018 interview with fellow Chicagoan G Herbo led Chance to illuminate fans with the news that he’d been working with artists including Young Thug and Francis And The Lights.

The latter can be heard in the July 4th album teaser that paid homage to his wife on a track’s that believed to be entitled “Not Single Anymore.” The notable creative synergy between Chano and the Oakland-born crooner makes it likely that he’ll be heard across the project. Fresh off of the release of the Chance-assisted “Rememory” earlier in the week, it’s also highly likely that Supa Bwe will be granted some space to shine on the project as their canon of hook-ups continues to grow. On the other hand, it’s highly unlikely that there’ll be contributions from SAVEMONEY alumni Towkio or Stix after Chance made it known that he was “ashamed” of his friends that had been accused of sexual misconduct. 


PRODUCERS

Considering that he has conspicuously altered his Twitter display name to “Peter Owbum Cottontale,” it’s all but a foregone conclusion that he will have his hallmarks all over the project. A hivemind since the days of The Social Experiment, there’s nothing to suggest that he, Nate Fox and Nico Segal will play any less of a pivotal role in the production of this project than they did on Coloring Book. Capable of conjuring up sonic grandeur, their style is a seamless fit for an album that’ll harness the spirit of his wedding and all the joy that came along with it. After working together on “All Night” alongside 2017’s “And They Say,” it’d be no surprise to see Kaytranada reassume his position behind the boards. The Murda Beatz and Felix Leone-helmed “Groceries” was initially teased with a video that featured “The Whoa” originator 10K.Cash, so it’s very possible that we’ve only heard one byproduct of those same studio sessions.


TRACKLIST

For eagle-eyed viewers, Chance’s teaser video “The Next Chapter Begins” held more revelations than it did if it was just consumed at a passive level. Although it contains a fleeting teaser of new music, there is also a split-second clip at 00:53 where a board is visible that features the heading of “The Whole Album” before it quickly blurs. First compiled over at Hip-Hop-N-More, the as yet unconfirmed tracklisting reads as follows:

“1) ‘Big Fish’

2) ‘On The Run’

3) ‘Sun Come Down’

4) ‘Girl In Town’

5) ‘Hot Water’

6) ‘Not Single No More’

7) ‘Do You Understand’

8) ‘Rooster’

9) ‘Simply’

10) ‘—–‘

11) ‘Even If It Hurts’

12) ‘Slide Around’

13) ‘Pray For Real’

14) ‘Side Things’

15) ‘Skim Thru’

16) ‘Five Yr Plan’

17) ‘Where Ya Goin’

18) ‘We Go High’

19) ‘—–‘

20) ‘—–‘”

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