Jake’s Jams: Coloring Book

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Chance the Rapper has never released an album. Rather, over the past four years, he has released his work in the form of three different mixtapes. With each mixtape progressing further in style and production, the latest installment took form as Coloring Book, released in May.

An accumulation of soulful, inspired song, the mixtape showcases common themes regarding spirituality while exhibiting and utilizing choir-like production spliced with Chance the Rapper’s signature nasally style. New to Coloring Book compared to other Chance releases is the diversity of sounds within, grounded by common strokes between songs. For example, toned down, mellow alternation on tracks such as “Blessings” and “Same Drugs” are brought together by soft singing and horn additions from by Donnie Trumpet.

One of the most repetitive tropes found within the mixtape is the gospel flavored aesthetic present in almost all songs. Whether it be found in the choir contributions on “Finish Line / Down” or the smooth vocal flourishes within “D.R.A.M. Sings Special,” gospel tinted elements flood Coloring Book. The collective of artists featured on the record add to a sort of group spiritual collaboration unique on its own.

Coloring Book, however, is not without its flaws. The production within the album, however well designed and thorough, is often missed through oversaturation of sounds. Listening to the mixtape almost requires a set of headphones, without which many intricate sounds can be easily lost. The sound of the record is clouded to the point of possible unpleasantness in several songs, such as “Angels.”

Although the clouded nature of the record may serve as a distraction, the driving enthusiasm of Chance and associates makes up for the annoyance. Through his past records, Chance has kept a constant positivity, and Coloring Book is by far a continuation of his upbeat legacy