Chance The Rapper

(Photo: Nicholas Hunt/Getty Images)

Chance The Rapper's 'The Big Day' Is A Mixed Bag

Chance's first studio album shows he's trying new things...

July 29, 2019

By Jack Haley

A Fast Look At The Album

Tracks: 22 

Total Run Time: 1 hour 17 minutes

Notable features: Death Cab for Cutie (“Do You Remember”), DaBaby (“Hot Shower”), Taylor Bennett (“Roo”), Francis and the Lights (“The Big Day”), Gucci Mane (“Big Fish”), Shawn Mendes (“Ballin Flossin”), Nicki Minaj (“Slide Around” & “Zanies and Fools”)

Though he has been married for some time now, it’s clear Chance the Rapper is still flying high on marital bliss with his first-ever album, The Big Day. The title itself references his wedding day, and much of the content in The Big Day is an ode to the day he and wife Kirsten Corley got hitched. 

The slick tongue and word-smithing ways of Lil Chano from 79th that he has become known for are once again on full display in this project. Twisting and spinning his way through several of his tracks the lyrical genius of Chance shines through nearly every song. Every track deserves a second listen to try and pick up on all the little references and play-on-words Chance leaves smattered throughout his fourth official project. 

The first track “All Day Long” gives listeners a good idea of what’s in store for the rest of the album. Instead of sticking with the soulful feel of Coloring Book or the more modern and raw sound of Acid Rap and 10 Day, this brand new project opts instead for a retro feel with lots of techno sound laid over modern drum beats. 

The first big name on the star-studded featured list comes on the reminiscent track “Do You Remember”, the second track on the fourth project for Chano. Death Cab For Cutie provides the hook at the tail end of the song to close out the song with Chance riffing behind their lyrics. Oddly enough the two acts were hooked up backstage at Bonnaroo. Death Cab For Cutie tweeted that they shared an admiration for each other and they “briefly mentioned” a collaboration.

Track No. 4, “Hot Shower” is the one track people feel the strongest about on the album. The theme of the wedding day and the retro feel of the rest of what can be found on the setlist is abandoned for a much more modern-sounding trap beat. This is the biggest attempt in the track to jump into the mainstream. Most other tracks on the project are not going to be heard at a party, or receive major radio time. However, this track could be the exception. It fits much more closely with the sound of what is often found on the charts and may benefit from that. 

“Hot Shower” may point out what the biggest problem with Chance’s first album is: there is no one big hit that is going to draw in listeners. Chance, who has 23 million monthly listeners on Spotify, is missing that “one big hit” off of his new album. “Hot Shower” may be the closest he gets but more mainstream songs like his “Cross Me” crossover with Ed Sheeran and PnB Rock is going to overshadow anything on this album. 

The biggest hit so far of Chance’s career has been “No Problem”, the second track off of Coloring Book and a track that had massive star appeal with 2 Chainz and Lil Wayne both dropping in for a verse on the smash hit that has been streamed over 300 million times on Spotify. However, to put into context just how popular "Cross Me" is and how much it overshadows everything, the collab that came out just over two months ago already has a third of the streams as “No Problem” does. 

Chance The Rapper
Kevin Winter/Getty Images for Coachella

The continuity and musical ties that kept his former projects together are not there for Chance on The Big Day. There are lots of different sounds looped throughout the project. When listening to Coloring Book one knew they were probably going to get a soulful, gospel-sounding track that was very lyrically heavy. However, with The Big Day there is no telling what is going to come on should this be listened to on shuffle. Sometimes it’s a sweet and stripped-down sound about love, such as “We Go High”, sometimes it’s a funk-beat reminiscent of Coloring Book’s “All Night” and other times it is a feature-heavy track that uses lots of new beats and tracks to model what is often found in mainstream rap now, like on “Handsome”, “Roo” or “Slide Around.”

Despite all of that, this is an album that experiments with lots of new sounds and is very encouraging for what is to come from the newly-wed Chano. The most uplifting sign of this album is that Chance is willing to try lots of new things and see how they fit. Nearly everything done on this album works, some just not as well as others. The Big Day is a deep dive into the bag of tricks for the Chicago native to see just how far he can go. 

Personal Pick: The one can’t miss track on this album is “5 Year Plan.” The featureless-track is so reminiscent of the Chance The Rapper of before while at the same time shows his evolution from writing rhymes while suspended from high school, which launched his 10 Day project and eventually his career. With fairly simple layered instrumentals underscoring Chance’s equally simple yet layered lyrics hits on his bread and butter that got him here. It leaves with a perfect wedding day piece of advice, “The time has come/ to be who you are.”