Chance the Rapper’s New Single: Angels

Chance the Rapper released his new single, Angels, during The Late Show with Stephen Colbert on October 26th. While it wasn’t exactly a usual stage for a new release, it makes sense; not much about Chance Bennett is conventional. The current rap/hip-hop culture in America is typically dominated by talk of money, women, and drugs. Chance has shown a divergence from this archetype, popularizing a unique style of rap in the process.

After playing his new song on The Late Show, Chance released Angels for free on iTunes. Putting music on iTunes for free says a lot about Chance’s character. Although the prevalence of iTunes has given way to streaming services in recent years, the revenue to be made from iTunes sales remains significant. By cutting the $1.29 price tag, Chance the Rapper is sending a distinct message: it’s less about the money and more about the music.

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Chance’s band, The Social Experiment, produced Angels in an up-tempo and upbeat manner. In keeping with Chance’s recent album, Surf, Angels involves a significant amount of horn music. The trumpet can be distinctly heard throughout the entire song, lending itself to a charismatic and jazz-infused style of music. The unique beat truly is a breath of fresh air. Aside from the instrumental aspect of Angels, the lyrics themselves are also unique. Chance speaks to his effort to clean up his home city, Chicago, so that his daughter may play on safe streets. He also references keeping his grandmother safe and attending church throughout the song. While Chance’s music is in no way religious, it sounds as if the recent birth of his first daughter has had a positive impact on the lyrics in his songs.

It seems that hip-hop and rap are at precarious points in their evolutions. While a large majority of rappers are prioritizing heavy beats over lyrical and instrumental quality, rappers such as Chance Bennett are working to negate this trend. Chance the Rapper has consistently released quality music with underlying messages that transcend the usual topics of rap. Chance is poised to successfully continue his unique style of rapping, despite where the industry as a whole may be headed.    (I included the actual song and my favorite song from Surf)