Death of the Critic

Acid Rap - Review

Written by: Tom Blaich


“Here’s a tab of acid for your ear.”

Chancellor Bennett’s second mixtape,
Acid Rap, looked to follow the success of the first, 10 Day, by going so far outside of the mold for what a mixtape should be. It’s so different from 10 Day, and other projects out of Chicago like ComfortZone or Innatape. Taking us through the experience of living in Chicago, Chance the Rapper weaves raps about drugs, violence, love, and family together in one of the more sonically diverse mixtapes that you can get your hands on.

To say that it’s complex would be a massive understatement. No two songs sound the same, as he tears his way through dozens of different sounds, evoking everything from mourning, to partying, to success and loss, to church, to school, to family and to friends. Yet at the same time it feels oddly focused. This isn’t just a collection of sounds and experiences, it is the broad experience of living in Chicago seen through one young man.

Even with the bright, rather upbeat sound, there is a dark underside to this story that he tells us. He is a young man as familiar with violence as he is with family, and a shocking experience in which he witnessed a friend, Rodney Kyles Jr., stabbed to death. It’s a startling maturation for him, which carries him from being a young boy to a young man, where he mourns the loss of his childhood on “Cocoa Butter Kisses”, with his friend Vic Mensa, fondly remembering childhood cartoons and Chuck E. Cheese’s, as he “puts visine in my eyes so my grandma would fucking hug me”.


There is sadness in the joy, and joy in the sadness. He creates an amazingly tender love song, “Interlude (That’s Love)” celebrating loving your family and friends. It speaks of his adoration toward his family, and; coupled with the intro skit to “Everything’s Good (Good Ass Outro)” in which we hear an interaction between Chance and his father, shows us how he combats the darkness of living in this city. He fights back against the violence and depression not with a gun or knife, but with music as his tool of protest, trying to get everyone around him to change, “I know you scared / You should ask us if we scared too.”

You have to take the good with the bad. Celebrate when you can, even if it’s just listening to your “Favorite Song” with your friends. You can’t always mourn the bad, because the bad will always come, and you have to take it with the good. It’s a surprisingly mature message for a 20-year-old man.

It makes you excited to see where the young artist heads from here. He wears his Chicago pride and influence on his sleeve, as he follows in the footsteps of city greats like
Kanye West and Lupe Fiasco, breaking a new path in creating his own sound that artists will be emulating for years to come. And we can only wonder where we will see him in 5 years.

Editor's Choice

1. Good Ass Intro (Feat. BJ The Chicago Kid)
Pusha Man/Paranoia (Feat. Lily K & Nate Fox)
Cocoa Butter Kisses (Feat. Vic Mensa & Twista)
Lost (Feat. Noname Gypsy)
Everybody’s Something (Feat. BJ The Chicago Kid & Saba)
Interlude (That’s Love)
Favorite Song (Feat. Childish Gambino)
NaNa (Feat. Action Bronson)
Smoke Again (Feat. Ab-Soul)
Acid Rain
Chain Smoker
Everything’s Good (Good Ass Outro)

This title was reviewed before the inception of our current review system and as such is not scored. We still stand by the content of our old reviews.

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Tom has been writing about media since he was a senior in high school. He likes long walks on the beach, dark liquor, and when characters reload guns in action movies.

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