Since his first glimmers of internet notoriety, Chance the Rapper has been hailed as the kind of wunderkind to turn the music industry on its head. From the nasal-toned phenom who made good use of a lengthy school suspension for his 2012 debut mixtape, 10 Day, to the savvy verse maestro who kept the emphasis on his friendships with 2013’s Acid Rap and the 2015 collaborative album Surf, the most endearing quality about Chance is that he’s always done things his own way and on his own time. He’s remained a coveted rap act determined to not sign with a major label and always give away his music for free; he also won a few Grammy Awards in the process with Coloring Book. Now, Chance’s official debut studio album, The Big Day, is finally here. (Stream the album below via Apple Music or Spotify.)
Chance is no longer the smart-aleck who first beguiled the rap blogs and sidestepped the major labels. He’s changed. How could we expect him not to? He’s a husband and father, now. He’s the politically-active, charity-heading, kinda-sorta publisher of The Chicagoist. He’s worked with everyone from Kanye West and Lil Wayne to Kirk Franklin — people he idolized growing up. In the span of seven years, he’s enjoyed an astronomical level of success, exposure and social influence. The Big Day is the culmination of that journey
With close to two dozen tracks clocking in at nearly an hour and 20 minutes, The Big Day is an earnest, ambitious, sometimes comical and often euphoric sonic journey as Chance reflects on faith, youth, fatherhood and how he’s arrived at this moment in his life.
“Oh my god,” Chance sings repeatedly on the title cut. “Think it’s the greatest day of my life. So glad you arrived.” And then, with a nod to the struggles of everyday living, he adds, “But the only way to survive is to go crazy.”
Chance’s album comes after months of speculation and online teases. Notably, the album does not include what was believed to be the first and only single from it, “GroCERIES,” which dropped in May.