Results for Chance the Rapper

interviews

Jamila Woods

In the midst of an accomplished career as a poet and educator, Jamila Woods launched onto the national music scene with heralded collaborations with Chance the Rapper, Donnie Trumpet & the Social Experiment, and Macklemore. Last year, she released her debut solo album HEAVN, which was recently reissued by Jagjaguwar. That record, with its powerful lyrical examinations of black womanhood and police brutality, ended up on both Jim and Greg's Best of 2016 lists.

Jamila Woods and her band join Jim and Greg in the studio to play songs from the album. She discusses her eclectic blend of spoken word, gospel, and hip-hop, which samples lines from artists ranging from The Cure to Incubus to Paula Cole. She speaks about lessons learned from growing up in the church in Chicago's south side and her music's power to speak to people who don't share her experiences.

Go to episode 620

The O‘My’s

Recently, Jim and Greg sat down with a band that Greg highlighted as a Buried Treasure last year: The O‘My’s. The genre-bending soul duo have become a fixture in Chicago's music scene, collaborating with rappers like Chance The Rapper, Saba, and Vic Mensa. They've also worked with producer and horn player Nico Segal, who previously recorded as Donnie Trumpet. The group started out stylistically indebted to their soul predecessors (down to wearing suits on stage); but with their latest album, 2018's Tomorrow, their sound has developed into something thoroughly modern. The O‘My’s, made up of singer/guitarist Maceo Haymes and keyboardist Nick Hennessey, joined us for a stripped down performance and conversation at the Goose Island Tap Room.

Go to episode 687
reviews
Chance

Chance the Rapper Coloring Book

Chicago artist Chance the Rapper recently released his third mixtape, Coloring Book. And while he's at the forefront of the rap genre, he's never actually sold a single album. That's because all three of his mixtape releases, as well as two collaborative albums, can be downloaded for free from the Internet. On Coloring Book, Chance enlists a slew of popular guest stars, from fellow Chicagoan Kanye West to the man of the moment, Justin Bieber. Jim really enjoyed this record, especially Chance's use of gospel music to empower individuals and generate a sense of community in order to combat violence. While he doesn't think it is quite as good as his last release, Acid Rap, Jim strongly believes the music and lyrical insight on this album is equal parts impressive and inspiring. He gives it a Buy It. Greg agrees, saying that Coloring Book is one of the most ambitious records in hip hop right now. He even points out that West's recent album, The Life of Pablo, wouldn‘t be what it is without Chance’s gospel sound influence. Greg appreciates the larger themes of the album and how it connects so well to the music of the Civil Rights Movement. It's a Double Buy It for Coloring Book.

JimGreg
Go to episode 550
I Might Need Security - SingleI might Need Security available on iTunes

Chance The Rapper I might Need Security

Chance The Rapper just dropped his latest EP, 4 new songs, which was technically released as 4 concurrent singles: Wala Cam, 65th & Ingleside, I might Need Security, and Work Out. The release immediately made news for more reasons than one. First off, the rapper hasn't released a solo project since Coloring Book in 2016. That project garnered critical acclaim, as well as 3 Grammys. Secondly, on I Might Need Security, a fiery track on 4, Chance announced that he had purchased the Chicagoist(a now defunct news and culture website that was a sister site to the Gothamist). Greg notes that the song also addresses Chicago Mayor Rahm Emmanuel, and Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner for the way that they have dealt with police-involved shootings and violence in Chicago. Greg notes that the EP shows a more political slant than he has previously; but also showcases a vulnerable side with 65th & Ingleside. Greg calls that track“refreshing”in the way that it deals with Chance's relationship with his now-fiancée and child.“Security”is, according to Jim, "the song that everyone is talking about [on 4], but "65th and Ingleside", that's the brilliant one here".

JimGreg
Go to episode 661
Album Art

Chance the Rapper Acid Rap

A number of Chicago rappers are blowing up right now-Chief Keef, King Louie, Lil Durk. But unlike those“drill scene”artists, Chance the Rapper is the kid next door. Jim loves that this“extraordinary artist”can be both deeply profound and also funny as heck on his new mixtape Acid Rap. He calls "Pushaman" the "Ohio)" that Chicago needs. Greg is also loving the goofy, self-deprecating lyrics and hears a huge amount of growth on this second, deeply moving mixtape. Acid Rap gets a double Buy It, and yet it's completely free!

JimGreg
Go to episode 390
The AutobiographyThe Autobiography available on iTunes

Vic Mensa The Autobiography

This week, Jim and Greg review The Autobiography, the debut album by Chicago rapper Vic Mensa – a name already familiar around Chicago , with fans including Chance The Rapper and Kanye West. Mensa raps with a "genre-free approach to what hip hop is" while addressing his upbringing, his experiences with violence and drugs, and his own self-abuse - causing Greg to describe the record as brutally honest and“very emo.” Jim and Greg applaud producer No I.D. both for recognizing Mensa's artistic abilities and for producing a succinct album, rather than a bunch of singles. While Jim and Greg note that Mensa definitely tries too hard with some of the lyrics, both agree that the album is“really impressive…and moving”and give it a double Buy It.

JimGreg
Go to episode 611
Chance

Chance The Rapper The Big Day

Chance The Rapper's“debut album,”The Big Day, is one of the most anticipated albums of 2019. His third mixtape, Coloring Book, was the first streaming-only release to win a Grammy award- three, in fact, including Rap Album of the Year. Since then Chance has expanded his focus beyond music: producing stadium concerts, supporting local politicians, donating $1 million to Chicago Public Schools and buying the news website, Chicagoist. The Big Day features many guest performers including Death Cab For Cutie, Shawn Mendes, Gucci Mane, Nicki Minaj, John Legend and Randy Newman.

At 19 songs (plus three skits) and 82 minutes running time, Jim and Greg agree the album is too long. The Big Day is referencing Chance's recent wedding to his longtime girlfriend, which is the most common topic discussed in the songs. Some critics consider the subject matter uncool, though Greg doesn't count himself among them. Jim and Greg both cite the confessional lyrics of "We Go High" as a noble gesture of honesty, but ultimately find the treatment of weighty topics such as fidelity, mortality and parenthood lack depth. They both feel Chance is capable of much more complexity in his lyrics, though they find the production and performances on most songs to be very enjoyable. Jim says with more brutal honesty, this album could have been a masterpiece. Greg acknowledges that with so much celebration and without deep reflection the album can be a chore to get through.

JimGreg
Go to episode 714
review

Common Let Love

Earlier this month, Chicago-bred rapper Common released his 12th studio album, Let Love, which was produced by jazz drummer and hip hop beat maker Karriem Riggins. Jim and Greg agree that the younger Chicago rappers like Kanye West and even Chance the Rapper would likely not have made it onto the national stage without his trailblazing 1990s records like Can I Borrow A Dollar and One Day It'll All Make Sense. Jim applauds the fact that Common, who also acts, continues to“release substantive albums”(citing 2016's Black America Again), while some other rappers who've turned to acting have not been able to sustain recording success. However, Jim says that he "would not recommend Let Love as the place to start to appreciate [Common]", but rather "that one two punch of Like Water for Chocolate in 2000 and Electric Circus, his alternative hip-hop album from 2002." Greg notes that many reviews of Let Love toss around adjectives like "coffee-shop jazz production" to describe the album, but he says this album showcases with tracks like Memories of Home that he is“unafraid to be vulnerable,”an evolution witnessed by both Jim and Greg.

JimGreg
Go to episode 721
Donnie Trumpet

Donnie Trumpet & The Social Experiment Surf

Out now is a debut for the new collective Donnie Trumpet & the Social Experiment. Surf smoothly combines rap, soul and pop as well as it seamlessly blends its different musicians. Chance the Rapper's childhood pal Donnie Trumpet fronts the band. Although Chance is the big name, he appears on fewer than half the tracks. That's not a problem for Greg. He thinks the record's sonics showcase a variety of sounds, musicians and friendships. Greg is even inticed by the fact they have big name rappers laying down rhymes over a harp. He gives it a Buy It. Jim agrees, adding that Surf showcases light and positivity present in neighborhoods where violence is all too prevalent. He calls it“inspired and brilliant,”and says Buy It.

JimGreg
Go to episode 498
Summertime '06Summertime ‘06 available on iTunes

Vince Staples Summertime ‘06

The year 2015 has been a prosperous time for rap and hip hop, with Fetty Wap, Wiz Khalifa, A.$.A.P. Rocky, and Silento dominating the charts. However, a new and different kind of artist has emerged with the debut album Summertime '06 from California rapper, Vince Staples. An ode to growing up in his native Long Beach, Greg finds Staples to be very talented in both writing and articulating his perspective. He compares Summertime '06 to early works by gangster rappers like N.W.A. and likes how he gives a lens into a culture that no one else is really talking about right now. It's a Buy It from Greg. Jim agrees and says that gangster rap can easily become misogynistic and pro-violence sounding, but that's not really what Staples is interested in doing. Jim compares him to artists like Kendrick Lamar and Chance the Rapper, but wishes that Vince would write more about the sense of community and positivity in the neighborhoods like Kendrick and Chance do. However, he believes Staples is a very important voice and give Summertime '06 a Buy It.

JimGreg
Go to episode 505
Jamila Woods

Jamila Woods HEAVN

In the last few years, Chicago poet and soul artist Jamila Woods has made memorable cameos on tracks by Macklemore and Ryan Lewis, Chance the Rapper, Donnie Trumpet, and more. Now, she's breaking out with her debut album HEAVN. Jim loves how Jamila effortlessly blends genres like soul, R&B, and hip hop. He also finds her lyrics to be powerful and effective in painting a picture of her life as a black woman. Jim thinks Woods is elevating the neo soul genre to the next level and gives HEAVN a Buy It. Greg wholeheartedly agrees, and thinks this album is another great release coming from the Chicago hip hop and R&B scene. He greatly respects Jamila's ability to poetically articulate her struggles against society's perceptions of black beauty and womanhood. Overall, Greg thinks this is one of the best albums of the year so far, and gives it an enthusiastic Buy It.

JimGreg
Go to episode 558
noname

Noname Room 25

Noname is a rapper whose poetic roots shine on her debut studio album, Room 25. According to Greg, each listen to the album reveals new meaning. Jim notes that though this is the 26 year old rapper's first studio album, she's given us material for years through her many collaborations with other young artists out of the new Chicago school of hip-hop, including Chance The Rapper, Donnie Trumpet, and Saba, as well as through her well-received first mixtape, Telefone. This album finds her collaborating with up-and-comer Phoelix on production which, according to Greg, results in a 1990s East Coast hip hop sound. Jim adds that the vibe of the record is also reminiscent of artists like Common and D'Angelo (he notes that D'Angelo even gets a shoutout on the track "Don't Forget About Me." Room 25 marks a coming of age for Noname, and for both Jim and Greg, it proves that Noname is among the most exciting female voices in hip hop today.

JimGreg
Go to episode 671
Intellexual

Intellexual Intellexual

This week, Jim and Greg review Intellexual, a project from Nate Fox and Nico Segal. The duo, who are also a part of The Social Experiment, came up in the collaborative Chicago-based scene that nurtured Chance The Rapper, and have worked with hip hop artists like Kanye West and Frank Ocean. This project, however, finds Nate and Nico attempting a singer-songwriter vibe a'la Carly Simon and James Taylor. Greg thinks that Intellexual is a project that defies genre categorization: in just one track ("Popstar") they employ footwork electronic sounds, classical strings, and jazz trumpet. It's a debut that Jim calls a multi-hyphenate "complete joyride."

JimGreg
Go to episode 699
Sir The Baptist

Sir the Baptist Saint or Sinner

Chicago's Sir the Baptist broke on the scene with a gospel-fueled single called "Raise Hell", and his debut album Saint or Sinner continues his experiments in blending the sacred and the street. Greg says that at Lollapalooza last year, Sir performed part of his set out of a casket on stage, "a commentary on the gun violence in Chicago; but also, a deeper message about faith, about spirituality, and about the role it could play in the lives of young people." Jim and Greg note that Sir the Baptist was ahead of the curve of mixing religious music and popular urban music that fellow Chicagoans Chance the Rapper and Jamila Woods have also explored. Jim says that Sir the Baptist is "firmly based in that rich Chicago tradition of gospel music" but Sir is "skeptical… of faith that is not grounded in morality". He calls "Deliver Me" an extraordinary track. Jim praises the album's deep themes. Both Jim and Greg give Saint or Sinner an enthusiastic Buy It rating.

JimGreg
Go to episode 600
dijs

Jim

“Downtown Venus”P.M. Dawn

This week, Jim wanted to honor the late Prince Be of P.M. Dawn by taking a track of his to the Desert Island. Jim notes that like himself, Prince Be was a misfit music fan who grew up in Jersey City, New Jersey. He had a rough upbringing but went on to make four superb albums as P.M. Dawn along with his brother, DJ Minutemix. After the '90s, Prince Be virtually disappeared, sporadically releasing new music on the internet. Jim feels that he traversed a new path with the Afrofuturism/psychedelic rap he created, and inspired the sort of work being done today by artists like Chance the Rapper and Janelle Monáe. Jim chose the song "Downtown Venus" from the 1995 album Jesus Wept, a track that exemplifies his genre-melding abilities and skills as a singer. Prince Be died on June 17 at the age of 46 from complications from kidney disease.

Go to episode 552
lists

Best Albums of 2016…So Far

Greg and Jim just couldn't wait until December to talk about some of their new favorite albums. They discuss some of the best records of 2016 so far. Here are their complete lists:

Go to episode 553

The Best Albums of 2013

Go to episode 419

The Best Albums of 2018

The end of 2018 is near, and that means it's time to reveal the best of the year lists from Jim and Greg! Also, listeners and Sound Opinions producers contribute some picks as well.

Go to episode 680

Best Albums of 2016

Go to episode 576

Best of 2013… So Far

Conscientious critics that they are, Jim and Greg don't leave their best-of list making until December. This week, they get a jump on their 2013“Best of”list by giving us their top albums of the year so far. Here's what made the cut as the mid-year best:

Go to episode 393

Mixtapes

As 2018 comes to a close, Jim and Greg tackle the timeless art of making a mixtape featuring their favorite songs from the past year.

This year, Greg's mixtape is called "Undone", because of the sense of“collective anxiety”that keeps cropping up in popular music. Jim's mixtape was inspired by gentrification's impact on artists and their communities, particularly in our home base of Chicago.

Go to episode 683
news

Music News

Robin Thicke and his producers Pharrell Williams and Clifford Harris Jr.(known to the rest of us as T.I.)—the team behind this summer's hit single Blurred Lines —have filed suit against the estate of Marvin Gaye and Bridgeport Music, rights holders to some of Funkadelic's compositions. The reason? Thicke and company claim that no, “Blurred Lines”sounds nothing like Gaye's Got to Give It Up or Funkadelic's Sexy Ways. (Members of the estate of Marvin Gaye, including his son, have claimed otherwise).

Chance the Rapper's mixtape Acid Rap (reviewed favorably on our show) has been selling well. The only problem is that Chance isn‘t the one selling it. Since Chance is lacking in a record deal, he isn’t covered by the protection of the RIAA, it's made the selling of his mixtape by a company called“Mtc”(for $14.83 a pop) all the more complicated. Still, Chance's manager Patrick Corcoran is looking on the bright side“This shows that there's a strong appetite for Chance in the marketplace,”he says. "How often does a bootleg hit a Billboard chart?"

Go to episode 404

Music News

These days national headlines coming out of Chicago are generally about one thing: gun violence on the south and west sides of the city. So far this year there have been more than 3,200 shootings, more than 530 of them fatal. At the same time the city is home to a vibrant and creative hip-hop movement that continues to grow. Greg recently attended two festivals that highlighted the creativity in Chicago while addressing the city's violence. Chance the Rapper hosted the Magnificent Coloring Day at US Cellular Field on the southside. The next day, Common hosted a festival on the westside. Greg says the two events were Chicago rappers addressing the city's violence while trying to do something positive about it.

Go to episode 566

Music News

R. Kelly surprised people by turning up in Chance the Rapper's closing set on the final day of the Lollapalooza festival in Chicago this past weekend, but it's his involvement with another, much smaller festival that has been making headlines. The Fashion Meets Music Festival (FMMF) of Columbus, Ohio, scheduled to kick off at the end of this month, originally booked Kelly as headliner of the three-day weekend celebration. However, the Columbus community and the event's sponsors met the news of the controversial R&B star's involvement with disapproval and condemnation. Kelly, well-known as the target of allegations of manufacturing child pornography, as well as dozens of accusations of sexual misconduct from young women, was removed from the festival bill last week. And this is one instance of an ongoing public conversation about whether or not you can support the art without supporting the artist. Jim has been at the center of this debate—with reporting that was captured in a Village Voice piece by Jessica Hopper. Kelly is certainly not the first (Woody Allen, Bill Cosby, etc.) to raise this question, and he won't be the last.

Go to episode 454