It has been a long, long, long time since I have listened to an album all the way through.
It has been a long, long, long time since I have listened to an album all the way through. In this modern era of easily-accessible songs via numerous different platforms, the album has become an entirely different entity to what it was before. I remember listening to a CD over and over until the tracks that I initially thought were a bit drab became my most treasured, and the “hits” from the album quickly became over-played and over-listened to.
Sadly that just hasn’t been the case for some time now.
The hunt for new artists and songs
I’m being absolutely genuine when I say that whole years have come and gone since I have added new music to my collection. A few years ago I made a conscious effort to revitalise my library by listening to Zane Lowe and other shows in order to find new artists and songs. The trouble with that is that you need to invest a lot of time in listening to a lot of dross until you find something which grabs you.
However when it does it can have a very profound effect.
I remember listening to a particular show a couple of years ago and hearing a lot being said about Tyler the Creator and his group Odd Future. Completely oblivious to what I was about to encounter, I hopped online and checked out the first video which came up via YouTube—namely Tyler the Creator’s darkly sublime “Yonkers.”
Rejuvenated my love for hip-hop
It caught me. It captured me. It grabbed me by my shirt, pushed me against a brick wall and said “THIS IS WHY YOU NEED TO PAY CLOSER ATTENTION.”
That experience rejuvenated my love for hip-hop, a love which had gone a little stale at the time. It encouraged me to proactively search for new music, and not just new albums by artists I was already familiar with, but new artists with new material.
I, much like fellow contributor Adam Felman, am a huge fan of battle rap. It is an underground movement which is so easily and unjustly dismissed by prissy hipsters claiming it to be “just two guys hurling obscenities and mum jokes at each other.”
I genuinely believe that it is one of the most progressive and creative art forms I have ever come across. When I discovered Don’t Flop, the UK’s largest battle rap league, I also discovered an entire ocean of relatively unknown artists, all of whom were making music and struggling to gain a foothold in the UK’s music industry.
Mixtape after mixtape
In the subsequent weeks and months I downloaded mixtape after mixtape. Some were better than others—my favourite’s being Lunar C’s Sewer Side Sex and Shotty Horroh’s Dead Bodies and Junk Food. However the most important aspect of these discoveries was that I was excited again about discovering new music.
This leads me on to my most important discovery of the summer—Chance the Rapper and his incredible “Acid Rap.” A couple of weeks ago a friend of mine posted the video for Everybody’s Something on my Facebook page and I instantly knew that this was a game-changer, not just for me, but possibly for a new generation.
Acid Rap: A vivid and sparkling piece of work
“Acid Rap” is a vivid and sparkling piece of work. If it was an animal, it would be an Amazonian Tree Frog. If it was a drink, it would be Frobscottle. If it was an item of clothing, it would be that hoodie your loved-one has been trying to put in the charity shop for years.
It is a concoction of revelry and exuberance which can only be produced by an artist who is undoubtedly comfortable with himself and the music he makes. He has poured his soul into his music and produced an album which is woozy and funky and charming and filled with positivity. His unique delivery and almost effortless style of rapping compliment beats which are uplifting and overload the senses until you are convinced that you can actually taste the music.
It begs to be played
This is an album which begs to be played whilst the sun is shining. It begs to be in your headphones as you skate down to your local park to hang out with your friends. It begs to be played at every house party you go to this summer and if you don’t listen to it at least once whilst enjoying a cold beer then you are really missing out.
You will undoubtedly by hearing much more about Chance the Rapper in the very near future. This Chicago-native rapper has just turned 20 years of age and already has nearly every major record label snapping at his heels and begging for his signature. He is an intelligent and honest young artist who refuses to make compromises when it comes to his music, and that is the type of attitude which is going to stand him in excellent stead over the coming years.
I have listened to “Acid Rap” as well as his first mix tape 10 Days, on loop for nearly a fortnight now and I have a feeling that his music contains the same ephemeral qualities that featured so heavily in the music I listened to as a teenager.
I implore all of you to go and download it from his website now. It is free and will make you feel good—what more can you ask for?!