Chance The Rapper has a new album on the way. In a recent interview with Chicago Tribune reporter Greg Knot, he confirmed that the anticipated follow-up to 2016’s Coloring Book is completed, and should be out by the end of the week.
“I got that feeling when people do something that has a new feel to it,” he said of his new album. “I’m excited for everybody to get that. It’s going to come out just in time for the Special Olympics.” Chance’s concert at the Special Olympics is scheduled for Saturday, July 21st, meaning we should expect to get it at any point before then.
In the meantime, here’s everything we know about the upcoming album:
1. He Started Working on the Album In 2016
In a 2016 interview with DJ Semtex, Chance revealed that he had already begun work on his next album. He said that while his previous releases, 10 Day, Acid Rap, and Coloring Book blurred the lines between album and mixtape, his next release would be his first “official” album. He expanded upon his statement a few months later, telling Complex that he plans to “open the scope” of what he can do musically.
“Like, I have songs recorded, but I’m not working on a Coloring Book or working on an Acid Rap,” he explained. “I want to make something that’s got a wider scope. 10 Day was all about getting suspended. Acid Rap was a lot about acid. Coloring Book was a lot about being a father and God. I think whatever this album is, it wouldn’t be so centered.”
Chance went on to lump these three releases as an informal trio. “Acid Rap and 10 Day and Coloring Book was like a trilogy in itself. One aesthetic, one goal,” he explained. “Whatever my next thing is, it’ll be a bit bigger. Like, maybe there’ll be some type of visual component to it. Like it’ll be a movie, or it’ll be a play, or some type of tour. But something a little bit different.”
2. Childish Gambino & Young Thug Are Among the Rumored Features
In a recent interview with Beats 1, Chance revealed some of the artists he’s been working with for the new album. “I never really have, like, a big, drawn-out plan for how s**t was gonna go,” Chance said. “I’m more in, like, a collaborative frame of mind. So I’ve been talking to this artist Francis and the Lights, we’ve been working on something.”
Chance continued: “Me and [Young] Thug been, you know, making songs forever, we got so many songs, so we’ve been talking about dropping something together. Same thing with Donald Glover, Childish Gambino.”
All of the aforementioned artists have worked with Chance in the past. Francis and the Lights appeared on the track “Summer Friends” and co-produced “All We Got” from Coloring Book. Young Thug is also a Coloring Book alum, having contributed a guest verse on the trap-influenced “Mixtape.”
Chance and Childish Gambino have the richest musical history together. Chance appeared on the tracks “They Don’t Like Me” and “The Worst Guys” off Gambino’s Royalty and Because the Internet, respectively, and Gambino returned the favor by dropping a verse on the Acid Rap standout “Favorite Song.” Rumors of a joint album between the two of them have gone on for years, but Chance maintains that it will happen soon.
“I’ve been actively working on the project with Childish,” he told Peter Rosenberg during an episode of Complex’s Open Late. “We’ve got six songs that are all fire, but I think the album is going to be more than 14 songs.”
3. Kanye West Is Said to Produce Several Tracks on the Album
Chance’s friendship with Kanye West has been mutually beneficial to both artists. They appeared on each other’s albums in 2016, and Chance’s verse on “Ultralight Beam” was seen by many as a career-defining moment. West is coming off an extremely busy June, where he released five albums in five weeks, but reports that he plans to record yet another collaborative album with the Chicago youngster.
“We’re up in the mountains around these wild animals — it’s very different out there — and we got some music done, and then he asked me if he could do an album with me,” Chance told the Chicago Tribune. “I don’t know of a timeline on it yet, the trajectory of it, but he’s coming here to work on it some more. We’ve just started making it, but I don’t want to manipulate the situation and impose any time frame, because that can hinder you.”
While it’s unclear which songs will appear on Chance’s “solo” album and which will appear on the “collaborative” album, Chance has made it clear that West’s input is crucial to both releases. “What’s cool is Ye’s kind of got me in a mode of understanding, just, your ability to multitask and work on different things,” he told Rosenberg.
Appearing on Windy City LIVE, Chance revealed that West traveled to Chicago to continue working on the albums. “Kanye West is my first image of a free black man in the industry and I just always loved him for that, loved his music, loved his creativity,” he said. “Working under him or working with him on his projects is crazy, but him telling me he wants to produce my album and come to Chicago and work with me…”
4. His Recent Engagement & His Daughter Helped Shape the Album’s Themes
In the Greg Knot interview, Chance admitted that he was “still figuring it out,” and felt like he was in “limbo” during the recording of Coloring Book. He went on to say that his daughter Kensli, and his recent engagement to his girlfriend Kirsten Corley, has helped sharpen his focus.
“Being a dad changed (my) approach to everything,” he said. “It’s made everything a lot stronger. It’s built on a foundation of marriage, which just closed my family up. I’m more confident in everything I’m doing. I feel I know how the story will end, so I can write it way better, so there is no misunderstanding.
Chance proposed to Corley during a backyard party on July 4th. His brother Taylor Bennett, who is also a rapper, shared a photo of the newly engaged couple on Instagram with the caption: “Proposed In The Hunninds! @chancetherapper You A Real One! 7-4-18 #BlockBoys ?.”
Chance also spoke on the joys of being a father, and how the difference of that experience has changed him as an artist. ”Getting to take my daughter places when I’m not on the clock—that’s like, a f**king surreal experience,” he told Complex. “Going around your family or around her mother’s family and having them interact and having kids around, and really just delving into family life, is so f**king dope and so separate from any joy that you can experience being creative.”
5. He Hasn’t Said Whether the Album Will Be Sold or Released for Free
Chance has yet to reveal how the upcoming album will be released. His previous album, Coloring Book, was available exclusively on Apple Music for its first two weeks before it was sent out to other streaming services. Like the rest of his discography, Coloring Book was released as a free download, but recent interviews have hinted at the fact that Chance’s next album might be his first retail venture.
“I think I might actually sell this album,” he told Complex. That’s, like, a big step in itself. I kind of hate the fact that I can’t chart, really. I can chart, but the way they have the streaming s**t set up is weak as f**k. It’s unfair. 1,500 streams is the equivalent to one [album sale], and that’s just that’s unfair. Nobody listens to their songs [1,500] times when they buy it—f**k outta here!”
“It makes it hard. I can’t really compete with other people,” Chance continued. “Not that the charts matters at all, but like, come on. Anyways, I think having it for purchase would be dope. Also, this is all hypothetical. There is no album. I can feel fans squirming in their chair, like, “Oh s**t, he’s changing!”