We know that Chance The Rapper’s debut “Owbum” is set to be released next month. But there’s not a lot of other publicly available information about the follow up to Coloring Book, Chance’s Grammy-winning effort. Coloring Book was a well-regarded album that stood adjacent to his idol Kanye West’s The Life Of Pablo as a brilliant melding of gospel and hip-hop in a widely accessible package.
The mixtape also broke barriers in the music industry, as it became the first ever streaming-only album to chart on Billboard‘s albums chart, and later became the first streaming-only album to win a Grammy. The waves that Coloring Book made have a lot of his devoted fans out on the figurative coastline, waiting for any sign of new information they can get on his next project. “GRoCERIES” is widely regarded to be the first single, but what’s the name of the “owbum?” What’s the release date? Who’s on the tracklist? No one outside of his circle knows. But here’s what we do know:
The “Owbum” should have several features, including Kanye
Chance isn’t J. Cole-ing it on his debut album, nor would we expect him to. He recently released his “GroCERIES” single with Texas rapper TisaKroean — but that may not be where the features stop on the album. Last year, Chance went to Wyoming to work with Kanye on his Ye album. The two Chicagoans then teased that Chance would have a 7-song album to pair alongside the rest of the artists who made up the GOOD summer of Kanye-produced releases.
That album never came, but we know they put some work together. When Kanye was in Chicago last year, he told reporters that he was there in part to work on Chance’s album. But there may be some other big name appearances on the album. Last April, Chance spoke to Beats 1 along with G Herbo and told them he had been working on music with Young Thug, Childish Gambino, and Francis And The Lights. Chance implied that their work was for collaborative projects, but it wouldn’t be unprecedented for one or two of those songs to end up on his albums.
Songs often reach the world in a completely different manner than how they were initially intended. Time will tell if that’s the case with Chance.
The album comes on the heels of a religious sabbatical…
It’s no secret that Chance The Rapper identifies as a Christian. His spirituality was a major theme of Coloring Book, and that could be the case for his next album — especially after a sabbatical that he took last December. At the end of 2019, he made an Instagram post noting that he was traveling to an undisclosed location to “learn the word of God.” He said, “I’ve been brought up by my family to know Christ but I haven’t taken it upon myself to really just take a couple days and read my bible.”
He also evoked his nephew Charlie Matthew and the “next generation of Bennett.” He’s a father of a three-year-old daughter and is expecting another child presumably near the end of this year. The newly-married man has met a lot of life benchmarks in the past couple of years which he likely credits in part to his faith. It wouldn’t be surprising if those kinds of testimonials found its way onto the album.
…but that doesn’t mean Chance won’t be having fun
Note the verbiage in Chance’s sabbatical announcement. He didn’t say he wanted to imbue his young family members with the word of God to make them humble, godfearing people. We’re sure that’s what he wants, but his actual verbiage was more blunt and refreshing: he wants them to “F*CK YALL UP.” As much as Chance is framed as a goodie-two-shoes by critics, his actions display a refreshing duality.
He’s just as likely to give a fortune to a youth program or deliver a sermon at a church as he is to be remixing a G-Herbo song or dancing to Tekashi 6ix9ine’s gritty “Gummo” hit. He’s a regular guy, who just happens to be open about his faith. Last year, he told Beats 1 that in his new raps, “I be talking about ass a lot.” We’re sure that kind of energy will be present on the album. Even on Coloring Book, one of the most love songs featured Lil Wayne and 2 Chainz and threatened to “have a bunch of dreadhead n—-s in the lobby.”
What we know about the production
It sounds like Chance will have a soundscape perfect for “talking about ass.” He’s apparently collaborated with Texas rapper 10k.Caash, who’s most known for the “Woah dance.” Chance posted an Instagram video showing the two dancing to a fun, thumping song that seems like it could have some legs as a viral hit.
After hearing that snippet, “GRoCERIES,” and the singles he released last year, it seems like Chance is in a festive mood which will be reflected in the sonics of the project.
The “Owbum” will preface a tour
On March 20, Chance took an unconventional route of announcing his upcoming tour. He tweeted out the destinations of several shows he’s planning “after my Owbum” drop, including big markets like L.A., New York, and his native Chicago. And he’s already been announced as a headliner as events like Woodstock 50 and Las Vegas’ Life Is Beautiful. It’s likely that even more destinations will be announced once the album actually sees the light of day. For now, all we can do is wait.