The Acid Rap Anniversary: Flashbacks on the Mixtape for Chicago

The Acid Rap Anniversary: Flashbacks on the Mixtape for Chicago


Acid Rap the was the big one, the project that stretched Chance the Rapper past a rising act within the Chicago Music Scene and solidified his rapping prowess that that he made known with 10Day, his first mixtape. It’s been four years since Acid Rap released and while everything surrounding the project has changed from Chance himself as an artist, to the city of Chicago, the state of the project is still intact.

My experience with Acid Rap happened during my sophomore year of high school. I was clueless about Chance the Rapper at the time, but his effect on the student body was apparent with his single “Juice” being the topic of conversation all over the place. I paid it no mind but it was clear Chance was a Champion of the Youth. His song and style, infectious as can be and garnered grins and students yelling in unison “I GOT THE JUICE! I GOT THE JUICE!” Sometime later on April 30, Acid Rap officially released and I don’t think we could’ve comprehended what Chancellor had in store for us as a city and for music in general.

Acid Rap covered so much across the thirteen tracks, almost like a literal acid trip taking you through different stages. Chance packs a lot inside these songs, from the outgoing and energetic opening Good Ass Intro that highlights the now commonplace traits we bring up when talking about him in conversation, to the moving and all too real second half of Pusha Man where he speaks on Chicago violence that is still apart of Chicago Music to varying degrees. Pusha Man in particular spoke on issues that were all too real for the youth of the city. Summer time in Chicago is cause for alarm, and the monotonousness of Chance laying the truths of the city in between his personal tales of his life, highs and lows included, gives the tape added layers for people attempting to get an idea of a period in a city’s music scene.

The range of talent across numerous songs on the project from the likes of: Vic Mensa, BJ the Chicago Kid, Noname, Action Bronson, Ab-Soul, Childish Gambino, and more showcased the strengths of everyone involved and captured the various complexities that one person can go through. From Lost sweeping in it’s romance and somberness to Favorite Song still supplying summertime fun to this day with Chance and Gambino, and a strong mix of the two types of songs with Chain Smoker that causes you to bounce and nod as Chance floats over the production keeping the energy alive until the song is over.

To commemorate the anniversary of the mixtape that elevated Chance to the stratosphere, I reached out to my Chicago friends to get their thoughts on Acid Rap and about how they felt when it dropped and how they look on it now four years later.

@WelpDontizzle  – “Acid Rap was the first project he put out that I was able to tell the type of artist he would become, but it also showed his range and the fact that he was a dynamic artist. Like 10 Day was a simple introduction to Chance. Acid Rap was him showing you just how good he was at this. He continued using modern events and his personal experiences to convey a message of how the world was affecting him on a mental level (see Pusha Man/Paranoia) and he showed you his fun side on Favorite Song and Nana.”

@Jiggy___Jay“At De the whole school hallway was full of students waiting on Chance to drop the tape and when it dropped we went crazy. It’s STILL his best work, better than 10 Day and Coloring Book.”

@__PazIII“It’s still a great ep or whatever it was called a few years ago. All I know is you could only play it on SoundCloud or YouTube. I played that album regularly, like it was the only thing to listen to. Also I remember in high school a lot of different people I knew was playing it too. We were all talking about it. And just playing the songs in class for weeks. Niggas bonded off this. It was this one song called pusha man. Loved the first verse but after listening to it so many times I just skipped to the second part of song because it was really speaking truth. The one line “around here it’s easier to find a gun than a fucking parking spot.” Like deadass if you go downtown with your car, besides paying $28 for like 2 hours of parking but finding street parking is damnly impossible. But a gun? Yeah that was a regular thing according to our news. I think every week some 17 year old popped someone. It was fucked. Thinking back on it now, Chance was REALLY ahead. Like no disrespect to anyone in the rap game he put on that ep, but he’s just a top tier rapper in terms of popularity and being an overall great rapper. That thing still can get plays till this day.”

Jordan – “When it dropped: I skipped most of the songs & I didn’t appreciate the growth he’s shown between that & 10 Day. I completely ignored the messages and underlying theme in it. Now: I consider it his best work. He touched upon delicate topics that isn’t really touched upon in mainstream hip hop now. He brought light to his depression, struggles & issues in Chicago. He offered a fresher, more “friendly” look of Chicago rap when Drill rap was thriving.” 
@RealWillBrooks  – “I remember when Acid Rap first came out and it made my faith in Chicago music deepen. Chance had brought the vibes and had me jamming Juice, Everybody’s something, or favorite song ft. Gambino when I felt uplifted or to Acid Rain and Lost to reminisce during my teenage years in high school. Acid Rap played through my ears every morning on the way to school. Through Acid Rap I discovered other artists and styles of music that I may not have none of without it.” 
Acid Rap meant something at the time of it’s release. It still does to an extent. In his own way and unique style, Chance brought problems of Chicago to life through music that people could get behind, and got people from all over to pay attention in the process. It’s been a lot of change the past four years since Acid Rap released, Chance is redefining what it means to be an Independent Artist, Chicago is still working to quell the violence in the city, but the music scene thrives and is continuing to grow no matter the music you make. I’d like to think Chance and his ten day suspension, and acid, helped shift people to that mindset.

Happy Four Years of playing Acid Rap and here’s to another four and beyond!

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