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Throughout this summer, most of the focus on Hip Hop has been directed toward a couple of mega-releases: Kanye West’s Yeezus, an interesting, oddly enjoyable, but above all weird album; and Jay Z’s Magna Carta Holy Grail, a decent album that seemed more about its creator’s partnership with Samsung than actual music. Lost in the shuffle, to some extent, was one of the most interesting albums of the year so far: Acid Rap, the second publicly-released mixtape from Chance the Rapper.

We’ll put it this way: if you’re going to give this album a shot, you may want to upgrade your speakers or headphones before you do it, because it’s just that much fun to listen to. MySmartBuy has some great music player options for around the house, and you can always look into the latest Dr. Dre-inspired headphones. Trust us: the album does justice to high quality audio! Why? Well, here’s a quick review of Acid Rap.

Chance is a breath of fresh air out of a rough south side Chicago neighborhood, and his background and upbringing are not just present, but in your face on this album. Specifically, Chance mourns the loss of murdered friend Rodney Kyles, Jr. on multiple tracks. Of course, this puts a sad undertone on the entirety of Acid Rap, but this isn’t to say the music is depressing. Actually, it’s both refreshing and oddly uplifting to see an up-and-coming rap artist speak about something deep and meaningful on an album, as opposed to the usual driven-into-the-ground again and again themes like drugs, women, money, etc.

As noted by Pitchfork’s excellent review, the album itself is an eclectic blend of styles and inspirations that may sound messy, but somehow all work together. One can detect everything from blues and jazz inspiration to the voice of a pre-fame Kanye West on this album, and believe it or not that’s a wonderful thing.

Mind you, Chance the Rapper’s sound is not for everybody – at times, it sounds abstract, abrasive, jerky, and, next to so much of what’s popular these days, a bit lacking in effects and embellishments. It’s “music made on LSD,” as Earmilk put it, and though this shouldn’t be taken too literally, the description makes some sense. But at the same time, these factors are what make Acid Rap refreshing. In addition to genuine subject matter, this is genuine music – old school rap with an added influence from about a dozen different genres of music. In short, this album is well worth your attention.

Download Acid Rap.

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