The hype machine revs up quietly. It might be a tweet, a blog post, or even that rare but most-powerful word of mouth. You don’t know if it’s organic or manufactured. Like a cloud, it expands until it seems to seep into increasing twists and turns on your quest for music, until you’re not sure if the whole world is consumed or simply the world you can see. The fog of hype. It makes stardom seem inevitable and, in the 21st century, often rightfully so. Once the fog starts to spread, multiple mechanisms lie in wait to make sure it finds as many corners as possible.
If you’ve been following the music blogosphere over the past year–a year and two weeks, to be more precise–you’ve probably seen the name Chance the Rapper. If you found yourself at SXSW this year, his buzz may even have cut through a different kind of haze, the one created by beer, tacos, and festival-grade exhaustion.
In large part, the hype has been well-deserved. Chance’s animated, melodic flow fits comfortably in the current rap landscape while separating itself as an elastic melting pot that pulls from the styles of past greats without sounding derivative. He’s danced across soulful grooves, carving a nice alley for himself over a slew of modern beats imbued with classic sounds and styles–a fitting sonic complement for a young rapper who often seems an old soul.
Acid Rap is to be the triumphant victory lap, the culmination of a year spent constantly climbing. In the next few months (or perhaps even minutes after pressing play), we will know if Acid Rap is Chance’s Section.80 or Live.Love.A$AP, the sort of career milestone that rap historians point to as the moment promise turned into deliverance and a new chapter began. Here’s to hoping the fog is real and that a promising future of excellent rapping awaits.