I despise the morning. I despise the morning in the same way I imagine rats despise snakes or cats, or subways. OK, so rats have it pretty rough – but screw it, they’re rats. Anyway, for me, the morning has always been met with waves of irritability. I also garnered a significant prejudice against those smiling bastards known as morning people. Now I’m still convinced that these bright, optimistic people are the bane of my existence, but I’ve recently had a change of heart regarding those early morning hours. What could possibly be the reason for this you ask? Well I’ll tell you, dear legion of readers. The reason for this polar shift is Chance the Rapper.
When you wake up tomorrow morning, put on “Wonderful Everyday”, Chance’s cover of the television show Arthur’s theme song. The cover builds slowly, beginning as a gentle lullaby and evolving into a triumphant victory lap. Just listen to it and try to escape its overflowing optimism; it’ll beat you over the head. I hate myself for it. You see I’ve always liked my grumpy old man attitude that ranged from 7:00 to11:00 am. It provided my play-doh like exterior with a level of grit. However, Chance’s unique ability to combine uplifting production with his eclectic array of squeals and lyricism has provided me with a fresh perspective.
Each morning for the past few weeks, I’ve been blasting Chance in the morning, and each morning I’ve woken up with my spirit lifted. But his rapping ability is not the only source of inspiration. The accompaniment of his band, The Social Experiment, plays a key role in their sanguine sound. Donnie Trumpet’s actual trumpet releases sonically triumphant arcs that make you feel like charging into battle. This is evident on Chance the Rapper’s album, Surf, lead single “Sunday Candy.” I’m not a religious man, and while I identify as a Jew, I have never wanted to attend early morning Sunday Mass as much as when I was listening to “Sunday Candy.” Chance’s music inspires me to be a better person, a stronger person and a morning person.
I am not trying to paint Chance in a purely optimistic light. While the rapper displays his fair share of exuberance for life, he also has darker, emotionally complex material. “Paranoia,” a song that begins in fantasy and ends on Chicago’s South Side, is an all-time haymaker of hitting you in the feels. The same goes for “Nostalgia,” which makes one want to watch Rugrats and cry simultaneously. But even as Chance explores thematic subjects such as the loss of innocence and the terrors of living in danger of gang violence, he maintains an intrinsically celebratory quality to his music. His optimistic perspective doesn’t seem forced because he recognizes life’s horrors. At the end of “Paranoia” he suggests to the listener, “I know you scared / you should ask us if we scared too.” In the face of tragedy, he connects his listeners; through this connection they find strength. Because of his ability to balance hope and heartbreak, Chance is considered one of the most sincere musicians in the game. And it is this balance, this willingness to confront life’s horrors while retaining hope, that makes me want to get out of bed in the morning.
Chance inspires hope. When you’re down, he lifts you up. When things are positive, he takes you higher. Needless to say, I’m excited for the morning.