2013 seems to have been kind of a lost year for me. My listening habits took a turn for the worse as the rest of my life picked up speed (I went back to school, continued to work full-time, and then got a dog), so my favorite releases from these past 12 months will likely not mirror many other outlets, just my own ebb and flow of listening when I found the time, and in no discernible order. Let’s mix it up.
Chancellor Bennett turned 20 years old this past April, and two weeks after his birthday the Chicago rapper released his mixtape Acid Rap to a public that was largely unsuspecting of just how good it would be, this writer included.
Acid Rap is filled with a verbal tic that lies just behind the vocals on the vast majority of the songs. It’s a yelp, one that serves to keep time in the songs in which it appears. I had the thought of trying to count the number of tics I heard throughout the mixtape’s running time since Chance is smart enough to make that number significant, and with the murder rate in Chicago in 2012 reaching 516, I thought there might be a correlation.
I realized I was pressing, however, and trying to make more out of things than needed to be. Acid Rap is at its core largely a tale of diversion, whether through cigarettes, sex, or drugs, and it is at its pinnacle on the “hidden” track “Paranoia” that’s tacked onto the end of the album’s second song. It’s heartbreaking to hear Bennett snarl that “down here it’s easier to find a gun than it is to find a fucking parking spot.”
Acid Rap isn’t about the cash, and it’s not about the women, or even really about the drugs, though those things do have their place. Told through a lens yellowed by cigarette smoke, Acid Rap is a stark look into a world that has been largely ignored by those who are outside of it, and it is delivered with enough aplomb to make those same individuals take long overdue notice.