Chance the Rapper and his Chicago White Sox cap are inseparable. It’s a staple in his concert wardrobe. He wears it on TV. Chance even created his own custom designs as a promotion for the Chicago baseball team earlier this year. “I'm in love with my city. … I sleep in my hat,” he sings in “Finished Line/Drown,” a track off his new bestselling album Coloring Book.
While Chance recently signed a deal to become a club ambassador for the White Sox, his hat choice signals something deeper than a sports affiliation. It’s a way of showing his love for Chicago, specifically its South Side, a geography central to Coloring Book and the hometown that he and I share.
If there’s any identity that might compete with Chance’s South Side status, it’s his newfound Christianity, which the rapper has repeatedly referenced on social media and incorporated into the album. One repeated theme: being a Christian has made Chance far more aware of his own flaws, even as he recognizes God’s love for him and his desire for redemption in the midst of the complexities of his own life. In Coloring Book, Chance assumes this posture toward Chicago’s South Side, which suffers from disproportionate poverty and violence. On the album, Chance names his community’s flaws while underscoring his undying love, loyalty, and hope for it.
This undying love manifests itself in many ways in Coloring Book. Windy City-native Kanye West and the Chicago Children’s Choir perform on several tracks. In “All Night” Chance samples House music, a genre originating in his hometown. Chance namedrops WGCI and Power 92, two local hip-hop radio stations, in “Angels.” Chance ...1
Already a CT subscriber? Log in for full digital access.