Chance The Rapper's "Acid Rap" Turns 10

The trippy genre-blended project that altered Hip Hop’s landscape.

BYDemi Phillips
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Every artist has a distinct career-defining moment that propels them to a wider audience. For Chance the Rapper, that was Acid Rap. The classic 14-track mixtape helped cement Chance as a rising force in Hip Hop. Acid Rap notably marked its 10th anniversary on April 30th, 2023. Despite the modern age of rapid musical evolution, the mixtape has remarkably aged like fine wine. From its now-iconic artwork, to standout tracks like “Acid Rain,” there’s no shortage of important moments that helped shoot Chance the Rapper to the stars. 

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The Rise Of Chance The Rapper

NEW YORK, NY - JUNE 19: Chancelor Bennett Aka Chance The Rapper visits the SiriusXM Studios on June 19, 2013 in New York City. (Photo by Matthew Eisman/Getty Images)

Chance the Rapper kicked off his musical interests, thanks to Michael Jackson. However, a pivot to rap soon followed. He has cited Kanye West as one of his earliest Hip Hop influences and stated that he was inspired by West, a fellow native of Chicago, to start rapping. In 2012, at the age of 19, Chance released his debut mixtape 10 Day. The project also marked his introduction to the public as a rapper and was the starting point of Chance the Rapper’s rise to stardom.

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The Birth Of Acid Rap

Following his early buzz, Chance the Rapper hit the ground running with his second mixtape, Acid Rap. The mixtape catapulted the rapper to international fame. Furthermore, it received critical acclaim for its innovative blend of Hip Hop, Gospel, R&B, and Soul. Acid Rap also made a significant impact on the Hip Hop scene, garnering praise for its eclectic and genre-blurring style.

His fusion of elements from several different genres of music has become a hallmark of Chance’s artistry. Following the album’s instant success, many were keen to understand the rapper’s creative process. This was also due to Acid Rap’s trippy, psychedelic sound, unique artwork, and title. In an interview with MTV, Chance revealed he did in fact indulge in some LSD while making the project. 

"[There] was a lot of acid involved in Acid Rap," he said. "I mean, it wasn't too much-- I'd say it was about 30 to 40 percent acid... more so 30 percent acid." He also admitted the reason for his indulgence. “It was something that I was really interested in for a long time during the making of the tape, but it's not necessarily a huge faction at all,” he said. “It was more so just a booster, a bit of fuel. It's an allegory to acid, more so than just a tape about acid."

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Lyricism 

Chance’s lyrics on Acid Rap are marked by their introspection, vulnerability, and vivid storytelling. He explores personal struggles, relationships, drug use, and the challenges faced by young people in Chicago. The quality of the mixtape is hoisted even higher by its diverse and rich production, featuring contributions from several producers. Notable guest features include: Twista, Childish Gambino, Ab-Soul, and Action Bronson, among others. Consequently, these features elevate the respective tracks they appear on, allowing for a balanced and well-rounded project. 

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Acid Rap’s Legacy

Acid Rap is an influential project in the Hip Hop sphere. Its impact and significance are undeniable, and felt even now, 10 years after its initial release. It continues to be celebrated as a classic marking Chance’s career-defining moment. A 10th Anniversary Complete Edition of the mixtape was released in 2023. Also, in his native Chicago, Chance is largely revered as one of the rappers pushing the new school wave of Hip Hop. 

Importantly, the love is reciprocated. Chance moved back to Chicago after spending a couple of years in Hollywood. He told Ebro Darden on Apple Music 1 that while he may not be labeled an “OG” in Chicago, he’s definitely garnered a ton of respect. He also took the time to praise the Chicago natives who assisted him in the manifestation of Acid Rap. “I look at this as my Chicago project,” he said. “This was through and through from the juke and footwork influence to the use of all these different Kanye or Common interpolations, the samples, all of it, the features. It was a community project. It was like everybody was coming in working with me.”

Read More: Chance The Rapper Wants Suggestions For The Setlist For His “Acid Rap” Concert

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