I first heard of Chance the Rapper at shitty high school parties filled with good music.
We’d get high and listen to “Cocoa Butter Kisses,” then get drunk and listen to “Good Ass Intro.” When my girlfriend and I started to fall in love, we listened to “Sunday Candy” as we drove aimlessly, her hand in mine. I listened to “Ultralight Beam” on a loop for months, letting the spirituality of the track wash away any negativity I was feeling at any given time.
When Chance’s most recent mixtape, “Coloring Book,” came out on May 13, I quickly came to associate every single song with a different emotional point in my life. It is indeed a dynamic album, boasting songs ranging from, “No Problem” — a song that can instantly shift any venue from being chill-as-hell to turned-the-fuck-up — to “Same Drugs” — a song that makes me emotional about an ex that I never even had.
These last several weeks have been hard. I’ve been busy, stressed and tired. I’ve dealt with the physical weight of wanting to break my sobriety for a single sip of wine with friends, the spiritual weight of being at a low point in my long-term relationship and the emotional weight of contemplating my voice and my identity during a time in which my blackness feels threatened.