Music is all we got--Chance opens up Coloring Book with the auto-tuned guidance of Kanye West and the melodies of the Chicago Children’s Choir.
Gliding into the sweet sounds of Summer Friends on the third track of the album, I can feel the tepid water of Lake Michigan and the hot sun baking the concrete of Lake Shore Drive. Nostalgia weighs heavy on me with each track. Coloring Book vibrantly outlines each boundary of all 77 of Chicago’s diverse neighborhoods.
Lil’ Chano from 79th’s roots are apparent on the album, as should be expected, but he’s uprooting the dark, structurally unsound, forgotten part of his city and singing its praises. The album is the uplifting summer anthem that the pulsating Midwestern mecca so desperately needs. I got my city doing front flips, he excitedly sings on “Angels,” an ode to all those gone as a result of negligent city officials in what has become a blatant disregard for human life, particularly, black life.
Today is May 19th is the 140th day of the year, or for Chicago, the 231st homicide according to the Chicago Tribune. We are 38% of the way through the year. On this track, Chicago will see 516 homicides in 2016, up from 489 in 2015, and 432 in 2014. Not a single one of these homicides has taken place in Chicago’s affluent Lincoln Park--something to which I can personally attest, having attended DePaul University, whose beautifully manicured lawns are a far cry from the neighborhoods left to fend for themselves. Too many young angels on the south side, Chance’s raspy voice pays homage to those who have fallen victim to the persistent politics of poverty that have plagued Chicago’s history.
Though the story this album tells is not that of past or present struggle, but rather prescient triumph. Are you ready for your blessings? Are you ready for your miracle? Prosperity emanates from Coloring Book, for Chance, for his new family, and eventually, one can only hope, for his city.
by Rachael Dimit (@rachael2d2)