Life all rapped up

Chance The Rapper (left) is behind the album The Big Day, while Drake (right) puts out his first compilation album, titled Care Package.
Chance The Rapper (left) is behind the album The Big Day, while Drake (right) puts out his first compilation album, titled Care Package.PHOTOS: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

Hip-hop artist Chance The Rapper celebrates joyous moments while Drake turns vulnerability into splendid jams

American hip-hop artist Chance The Rapper is an anomaly among his peers, a persistently optimistic rapper who would rather sing joyous tunes than dwell on life's complications.

His latest release, The Big Day, is almost overwhelmingly wholesome and centred on his recent marriage to childhood sweetheart Kirsten Corley.

It is the first proper album from the rapper who won Best New Artist at the 2017 Grammys - his previous long-form works, including the acclaimed Coloring Book (2016), were released as mixtapes.

We Go High tracks his and Corley's relationship over the years, while I Got You (Always And Forever) has him affirming their relationship despite doubts from others.

It is chock-full of features - not unusual for a modern hip-hop release, but the line-up of guest artists is extensive.

Soul singer John Legend sings the refrain in uplifting album opener All Day Long, while rapper Nicki Minaj makes a welcome return through her guest verses on Zanies And Fools and Slide Around.

Ben Gibbard, frontman of indie rock stalwarts Death Cab For Cutie, sings the chorus on the laidback Do You Remember, which also has dreamy production from another indie auteur, Bon Iver's Justin Vernon. Rising pop star Shawn Mendes lends his voice on the jazz-inflected dance track Ballin Flossin.

While Chance is basking in the sunshine of wedded bliss, Canadian rap star Drake's emo tendencies come to the fore on his first compilation album, Care Package, which features an assortment of B-sides and unreleased tracks.

  • Chance The Rapper (far left) is behind the album The Big Day, while Drake (left) puts out his first compilation album, titled Care Package.

    HIP-HOP

    THE BIG DAY

    Chance The Rapper

    Self-released

    3.5 stars


    Chance The Rapper (far left) is behind the album The Big Day, while Drake (left) puts out his first compilation album, titled Care Package.

    HIP-HOP

    CARE PACKAGE

    Drake

    OVO

    3.5 stars

The collection affirms his canny ability to turn vulnerability and sensitivity into splendid jams to mope to.

I Get Lonely, first released in 2010, borrows the melody from and samples the title track from American R&B group TLC's 1999 album FanMail. "I'll be your friend if you let me, don't wanna come on strong 'cause too many people wanna get me," he croons.

Unlike Chance, he is too occupied to settle down.

"We too busy for a wedding or a kid, if I'm working then I know you working," he laments to an unidentified lover on the 2015 tune My Side.

Maybe it is because of his baller life as one of contemporary hip-hop's most successful acts, as he lays out in the 2013 track 5AM In Toronto: "Sinatra lifestyle, I'm just bein' frank with ya."

And as he emphasises on 2014's Heat Of The Moment, he is too caught up in all of the things he is doing right now to think about what kind of legacy he wants to leave in the future.

Club Paradise from 2011, which features another Canadian music star, The Weeknd, sees him trying to counter the perception that success has gone to his head and that he has forgotten his roots.

"Tell me, who did I leave behind?" he asks. "You think it got to me, I can just read your mind, you think I'm so caught up in where I am right now but believe I remember it all."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 08, 2019, with the headline 'Life all rapped up'. Print Edition | Subscribe