I’ve been sick for seven days now. That Gatorade addled week was enough to make me buy so many bottles of Mucinex that I could, reasonably, make an ammo belt out of them. I’m currently writing this article inside of a ten-story tower made solely of empty Kleenex boxes. The inside of my brain looks like the dugout at Yankee Stadium after a double-header. In shorthand: Please kill me.
During an episode of rapid-fire coughing, I stumbled across Chance the Rapper’s latest video, ‘Same Drugs’. I’ve listened to last year’s exceptional “Coloring Book”, several hundred times in 2016, so I was familiar the Chicago-based artist’s song — but this accompanying video threw me into a throng of emotions. The Anna of the North-like colors; the composed, deliberately minimalist set design; and the puppet with a figure-eight set of eyes. Also drugs as a playful, somewhat cavalier, synonym for love is both linear and yet devastatingly complex. Homie, help. I’m always under the impression that puppets make manic, lovelorn, and unsettling songs even more haunting. If you’ve seen Advance Base’s “Summer Music” video, you will perfectly understand what I mean. Or, to really feel the intangible nature of puppets in song, check out Baywitch’s “Cosmic Zone“.
What resonates, aside from Chance’s unapologetic, intensely emotional lyrics, is the artist’s sincere lilt. He croons with humility, drops the well bucket into reveries, and sings with equal parts melancholy and hope. His range doesn’t matter, the song glides with a patched up harmony that feels urgent, textured, and real in ways that Kid Cudi never entirely figured out.
In 2011, I was driving up the California coastline listening to Chance the Rapper. “Everything we said rhymed.” Six years later, everything and nothing is different.