Coloring Book is the third official mixtape by American hip hop recording artist Chance The Rapper. It was released on 12 May 2016 on Apple Music, before a few music websites had leaked the album. The album will remain exclusive to Apple Music for another two weeks after the release. Coloring Book was met with widespread acclaim from music critics around the world.
The mixtape kicks off with a Kanye West feature (mirroring Chance’s feature on “Ultralight Beam”); the remainder of its features rival those of The Life of Pablo — Kanye, Future, Lil Wayne, 2 Chainz, Young Thug, Justin Bieber, T-Pain, Lil Yachty,Jay Electronica, & more. The album seems to have a heavy gospel vibes throughout.
It’s not just the spirituality that’s sky high, but the calibre of guests too. Justin Bieber crops up on ‘Juke Jams’’ refined R&B and 2 Chainz and Lil Wayne bring heat to the bouncing ‘No Problem’, an ode to independence disguised as a summer anthem. Then there’s Young Thug on ‘Mixtape’, which sets out Chance’s commitment to making music on his own terms. Proof that taking a chance has yet again paid off.
If you’re expecting a straightforward hip-hop album with seething, pop-off verses, you may be disappointed. Coloring Book is a gospel album that coalesces hip-hop, spoken word, soul, jazz, and funk. As if hands clenched, eyes closed, praying, Chance remains in the pews during Sunday service in “All We Got”: “I get my word from the sermon/ I do not talk to the serpent/ That’s the holistic discernment.” Languid percussion, a bluesy horn, and lamenting organs ruminate as Chance raises his arms high in praise — “It seems like blessings keep falling in my lap” — while testifying to God: “He has ordered my steps, gave me a sword with a crest.” If this isn’t enough, “How Great” features a rendition of the popular worship song “How Great is Our God”, and the album incorporates modern gospel musicians like Kirk Franklin (“Finish Line/Drown”) and Byron Cage (“Blessings”), making everything that much more explicit.