Interview with Don Melton(@donmelton)

Happy New Year to all who may be reading! I know that 2016 is going to be an amazing year and I hope all of you are as excited as I am.

Part of the reason why I am so excited is because we have a great interview today with Don Melton, a self proclaimed "Web geek."

Don Melton, as described by his website bio, is best known as the person who started the Safari and WebKit projects at Apple." Nowadays, Don spends his time in sunny California, refining his skills, storytelling, and tinkering. And, like me, Don spends time walking his dogs...dogs rule.

When you were a senior in high school, and people asked you: "what do you want to be when you grow up,” what was your response?

"A comic book artist" was always my response in high school. And I believed it, too. Of course, that had evolved from "a comic strip artist," when I was in grammar school.

While blessed with a natural talent for drawing, I was never interested in portraits or landcapes. I wanted to tell stories like Jack Kirby and Steve Ditko, with pictures.

And by the time I was in high school, I drew underground comics. I even had a few of them published.

So, I was certain about what I wanted to be when I "grew up." Essentially, I wanted to get paid for what I was already doing for free.

What was it like working at Apple? When did you start? Any specific memories come to mind?

I started at Apple on June 25, 2001. Not coincidentally, the same day the Safari and WebKit projects started. Of course, we didn’t call them that yet.

Even though Steve Jobs returned in '97, nobody took Apple seriously back then. Financially or otherwise. I think my stock options were under water the week after they were granted.

So, at that time you joined Apple to change the world. Or you went somewhere else. Because the money, if that was your motivation, wasn't in Cupertino.

That filled the Fruit Company with crazy people on a mission. Which meant it was never boring there. And I loved that about the place.

But it could also be stressfull. Especially with so many strong personalities. And I don’t mean just Steve.

It was like working at a nuclear reactor. And if you didn’t develop a tolerance for the radiation from those luminaries — well, you died.

To say that I was fortunate to work at Apple during that time is undervaluing the word “fortunate." Sometimes it’s still hard to believe. We really did change the world, too. Me and all those crazy people. Well, mostly them.

And now that I'm retired, they’re who I miss. Not the work.

How did you get into writing or blogging or whatever you want to call it?

It started as a joke at my retirement party. My friends at Apple kept asking me, "Gramps, whatever will you do now with all your free time?"

And, to be flippant, I said, “Writing."

Nine months later, to my surprise, I followed through and created my eponymous website.

I really thought only my close friends and former colleagues might read what I was posting. But I was wrong about that.

When and why did your fascination with technology begin?

My first visit to Disneyland. At least, the first I remember, sometime in the early '60s.

Sure, I knew that Disneyland was all make believe. I just admired the skill and control it took to create it. And, like every other kid at the time, I wanted to live in Tomorrowland. I wanted to be part of it all. Everywhere I looked were possibilities.

Years later, around 1980, the same mind-expanding experience happened when I got my first computer. I was 24 at the time. Practically a fossil. But I taught myself to program anyway. I mean, why not? I could finally create my own little Disneyland.

When I don’t describe myself as a “storyteller," I use “tinkerer." This is why.

When not “working,” where could someone find you?

They can't. That's why I have two houses. Makes it much easier to hide.

Actually, I have no idea what “working" means anymore. And that was true before I retired. I just dive into whatever I’m passionate about at the time. Everything else is “chores."

But when I’m not occupied on the Internet I like to spend time with my family, walking my dog, and drinking a good glass of wine with a big meal. You know, prosaic stuff.

Of course, I’m still writing during all those times. And normally I can hide it, but it’s a dead giveaway to my wife when I stare into space for too long or get lost while driving. She always knows.

What can we expect from you in the future?

Another hundred years of virility I would hope, but that doesn’t seem likely.

So, more storytelling. For as long as I’m able. On my website, in a podcast, at a lectern, around the dinner table. Maybe even on the pages of a novel. Somewhere.

I do plan on more actual writing, but I’ve told that lie before. We’ll see. Motivation has never been my problem. It’s lack of focus. And I’m not ashamed since I share that curse with the rest of humanity.

Of course, I’ll still write code from time to time. But don’t expect me to develop apps, join startups, manage engineering teams, etc. That’s not happening. I’ve moved on.

You are trapped on a desert island, and can only bring your family and three things…what are these things?

Dog food, Netflix and a satellite phone. Sure, Buddy is only seven and half pounds, but he and his stomach don’t know that. My family can’t make it through the week without Netflix now. And the phone? That’s obvious.

Because, island or not, I grew up in a desert and I’m not spending anymore time in one. So it’ll be a quick call and then just waiting for an Uber.

But nobody my age ever gets trapped on a desert island. They either crash into one and die, or they have “people" to take care of that and other little annoyances. I’m far too boring and cautious to ever go anywhere near a desert island anyway. And I’m fine with that.

Interview with Matt Haughey(@mathowie)

It has been almost eight months since I last posted on instantbight.com. I realize now, looking back on my handling of the college process and the "crunch time" of my high school career, that this blog was absolutely something I could have continued -- but alas, teenage and adolescent laziness and disinterest caused me to stray from a great project.

However given a wonderful turn of events, I have been gifted an abundance of free time(in actuality I haven't been gifted any time just a relief of stress that allows for flexibility). And thus, I am rededicating myself to instantbight.com and the interviews I have done. And let me just say, it is going to be better than ever.

For anyone that actually reads this, here is an update on myself:

I completed a summer at Camp Moosilauke

This past summer, I was in charge of six, seven-year-old boys at my old sleep-away-camp in Orford, New Hampshire. The summer was incredible; I had an amazing technology and connectivity detox and also gained a newfound respect for the dedication and patience my parents had to have raising me and my sibling through...what would you call it...some tough ages.

I was accepted into the Class of 2020 at Northwestern University

Thank god. Through a lot of stress, handwork, and amazing assistance from my parents, I have finally been accepted into college. All of my schooling has lead up to this point and by some stroke of luck, it worked out perfectly. I am so happy and excited to be able to move on to a new phase of my life in Evanston and Chicago.

But enough about me, here are the goods for today.


Matt Haughey is a truly incredible person. Why? Well let's just say he is the only person I have ever interviewed with his own Wikipedia page. Among other impressive ventures, Matt is the founder of MetaFilter and the co-founder of Fuelly. However, now Matt works along side an amazing team at Slack.

Side note: I have abandoned my five question format. It was about time to start learning more from the amazing people that answered my questions.

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If you had to describe yourself in three words, what would they be?

Curious, compassionate, and fun. 

When you were a senior in high school, do you remember what you told people when they asked: “what do you want to do with your future?”

Yeah, at the time I really loved graphic design so I would tell people I was going to college and likely major in art (I wasn't 100% sure at the time).

How did you get into the tech industry?

In 1995, I fell in love with the web and quickly taught myself how to build websites myself. I was in graduate school at the time for environmental chemistry and seriously considered leaving school to build sites for others. I stuck it out though but by Fall of 1997 I was working at an environmental engineering firm and totally unhappy with the work. I loved the web still, and my big break was replying to an want ad in the LA Times for a web designer/developer at UCLA. It was probably the best job interview of my life. I connected with everyone there, made it clear I spent every second of my free time building sites, and got the job.

What is it like working at Slack?

It's incredible and fantastic and I wake up every day feeling lucky to be at Slack. My coworkers are fantastic and the work never stops being interesting. No two days are the same, my work there is mostly with words and that can take any shape or form. Sometimes I'm interviewing customers to write up on our blog, and sometimes I'm arguing with coworkers about which precise emoji combo we should use in a tweet, and sometimes we're talking about what words to put on a button that comes up rarely in an error message. I love the variety and unpredictability, the job is never boring. 

When you aren’t working, where could someone find you?

Most likely on Twitter. If I'm not on a computer, I'm on a bike. Generally I'm out on long slow rides in the Oregon countryside.

What does your workspace look like?

Currently my home office is a disaster area, but I get more/better work done either at a library (wearing headphones, cranking classical music to drown everything out) or a coworking desk (same headphones/music combo).

If you could only listen to one song for the rest of your life, what would it be?

That's an impossible question to answer for me. One food item, one song, one movie—I'd get sick of all of my favorites if I was confined to just one of anything so frankly I'm pretty happy we live in a time of almost unlimited choice for any of these things. 

And finally, if you had to give one piece of advise to your 17 year old self, what would it be?

Chill out, things will get better. You'll eventually find places where you'll be rewarded for going above and beyond what is expected of you. Also, your high school friends are all total jerks, and it's going to be alright when you move away and never talk to them again—you'll soon find new friends that are supportive and respectful and you'll quickly learn what real friends are like. College will be a great challenge, and moves so fast you'll look back at high school as glorified baby sitting years from now.

Also? Remember that essay you wrote in 4th grade in 1981 where you said you'd grow up to be a computer programmer and the teacher thought it was ridiculous and other kids thought you were nuts? Well, even though you don't currently own a computer at age 17, it comes true in less than a decade.

 

 

Big thanks to Matt for being my comeback interviewee. 

Interview with Brian Lovin(@brian_lovin)

It seems that the long haul of Junior year is finally coming to a close. As the year comes to an end, at last my final AP test is behind me.

Tonight's interview is with Brian Lovin. Brian is a product designer at Buffer, a founder at Mvsic, and a podcaster for Design Details among other amazing things. Brian graciously agreed to answer some questions for me.

If you could speak with your 16 year old self, what would you say to him?

Don’t be so worried about what people think of you. Try not to overthink everything. Have fun and enjoy new experiences.

What is good design? How does one go about making it?

Overall, good design solves problems for people. I’d keep going, but I think Dieter Rams sums all this up better than I ever could: http://www.archdaily.com/198583/dieter-rams-10-principles-of-%E2%80%9Cgood-design%E2%80%9D/

What does your workspace look like?

It changes a bit every day - I find myself mostly working from coffeeshops or from our office here in SF! At our office we have glass tables for dry-erase markers which has been so helpful for quickly sketching ideas or brainstorming with other people. I generally enjoy working in quieter environments, sometimes with music.

How/why/when did you get into design?

Design has been an unscratchable itch in my life for the last 7 years or so, since I was a sophomore in high school. No matter what I was working on I found myself drawn towards the product creation process, creating useful  experiences and making things look visually attractive (as best as I could, anyways!). The work I’ve done over the years has evolved, but at the core of it all is the product design side which serves as a continual source of energy.

What can we expect from you in the future?

It would be amazing to look back and say that I’ve worked with great people, helped others along their journey, shipped products that improved people’s lives and in some small way or another made someone out there happier than they would have been otherwise.

What is your opinion on the college process? Where did you go to school, if anywhere?

I went to school at Baylor U. in Texas. Overall I think college is a good thing - there’s a lot of debate going on right now about the merits of higher ed and I can definitely empathize with both sides of the table. For me it was a way to get exposure to new people and new ideas that I wouldn’t have otherwise had, and that’s been invaluable.

I think that college is what you make of it. Some people take different paths at school, and none of them are inherently bad. I chose for myself to work a lot and miss out some of the social aspects of college. I had my fair share of fun, but overall I’d say my experience revolved a lot around work, side projects and learning new things.

Interview with Mark Gurman(@markgurman)

Although my efforts to get an interview with Chance the Rapper failed me I still have had some luck! Today we have an interview with an amazing tech-blogger. Mark Gurman is a highly accomplished journalist and writes for 9to5Mac.com.

Those who follow Apple know that Mark is on another level. I don't know if it's magic, or super intelligence but he really knows his stuff.

Here are my five questions with Mr. Mark Gurman...

How did you get into writing? And specifically tech writing?

I have always been interesting in technology and Apple specifically. In fall 2009, I located a domain name indicating Apple was working on a tablet. This was a few weeks before the original iPad was announced. After this discovery, I began writing about Apple. 

When did you start working at 9 to 5?

I started around the announcement of the first iPad. 

Apple watch...absolute flop or wild success?

Eventually a wild success, never a flop, nothing runaway on the first generation. 

If you could go back in time and talk to your 16 year old self, what would you say to him?

Do what's best for you. 

And what can we expect from you in the future?

I'm working on some startup businesses, but I feel I always still be connected to the news world in some fashion. We'll see. 

 

Thanks so much for your time Mark!

Chance the Rapper: disruption's influence and interview with Nathan Goldenberg

This is the last post of my three-week-long piece covering Chance the Rapper. Its been fun learning about and listening to this interesting artist, as well as working with Brendan Kirk on the second part of the piece. So now it is time to wrap it all up.

In conclusion...

Last weekend while I was taking the SAT, one of my reading sections covered creativity and the possibility of making requirements in order to better discern who or what is truly creative.

The general thesis of the passage was that something or someone can only be creative if it is recognized as such. Thus, Emily Dickinson was not creative when she first published her poems because it took years and years for her to be recognized for her work.

So, by these terms certainly Chance is creative. He has garnered serious acclaim for his music in the past years and is appreciated, even idolized by many. He is inspiring a new era of rappers  - hopeful young men and women looking to mimic and build upon his new sound.

How do I know? Well on of such inspired young rappers attends my school. Nathan Goldenberg, or Natey G is a hip-hop artist in my grade who says his biggest influence is Chance. Why? 

"Chances integration of a wide variety of musical elements makes chance different from other rappers. Not only is chance a dope rapper but he has a great voice which fits perfectly with his funky style. Chances partner ship with donny trumpet also pushes chance past most rappers today. Donny's brass is always a pleasant surprise on a chance track. Finaly chance just has the dopest addlib in the game and thats a fact. Aigh!"

Natey G recently released his single April Showers, a really catchy song with the same kind of "old-time" influence as Chance. Instead of the soul music Chano employs Natey G opts for a remixed version of March Winds and April Showers, a song popularized during the 1920s. 

Just to keep with my interviewing roots I decided to interview Nathan to get a better perspective on his rapping and how Chance has factored into his experience.

How did you get into rapping?

I started rapping with a child hood friend of mine at age 11. Although I wasn't that committed I still loved putting down the shittiest bars you will ever hear. I really started to pick things up sophomore year when I was granted access to a professional studio. Being able to learn the ins and outs of recording with top of the line equipment drove me to put out more content and really get things rolling.

What do you find special about rap as a genre?

The special part about rap is the ability to develop your own unique style. When a friend runs a rap song I can easily identify the artist because each artist has there own flow, tone, and style. Developing this lyrical identity is the coolest thing about rap because you can take it any direction you want to go, the possibilities are endless.

What rappers do you look up to? Why?

Chance the Rapper is my favorite rapper out there right now. His style is so new and sets him aside from anyone in the game. I love his incorporation of vocals on his tracks and the live instruments he spits over. A lot of people get hung up on his voice, but I think it's fly as fuck. Chance is my main inspiration when it comes to rapping and I've learned a lot just from running his shit.

Let's say, you meet up with Natey G seven years from now. What's he going to be up to?

In 7 years Natey G is gonna be doing big things. I dont know if it will be music, but I know its gonna be big, I can feel it.

Are you attending college?

I plan on attending college because education is the key to success. If you have the funds to go... why not? Sure you can make a living without going to college but a college education will go a lot further opening up endless job opportunities. If all else fails, music, college, life... I'll be in California running my own farm. Peace.

Nathan is an example of a new generation of rappers learning and getting inspired by artists like Chance the Rapper. So is he creative? Is he inspirational? I would say yes.

(Before we continue please check out Nathan's Soundcloud and Youtube Channel.)

The second, and possibly more concrete reason why I believe Chance the Rapper is important is his disruptive tendencies in terms of how he treats music as a career.

First things first Chance makes no money off his music. All downloads are free and he never puts his own albums or mixtape on iTunes or Google Play, or Amazon. Although other artists do the same with mixtape and singles, Chance completely runs with the "free" concept. 

In the same way that apps are often offered for free with in app-purchases driving profits, Chance makes his money after his listeners are hooked.

How? Performances, tours, merchandising. It's certainly a risky concept, making music your career without selling music but Chance's wild success is creating a lot of conversation regarding the necessity of paid music or record labels.

So that's why he is important. Chance is illustrating to Nathan Goldenberg and other young musicians like him that a record label or an iTunes account, it means nothing. Make good music and you can make it work.

According to CelebritiesMoney.com Chance is worth a million bucks as of 2015.

Everyone can learn from that. Perfect your craft and let the Xs and Os come later. 

Chance is a creative, original, disruptive artist succeeding by flipping the music industry on its head. That's pretty cool. 

Even though I have yet to get my chance to interview Chance, I encourage all of you to listen to his music and check out this interview here. Not only is Chance a fantastic musician but also an extremely thoughtful human, concerned with lives other than his own.

Chance the Rapper: the gift of suspension

As I continued to research Chancelor Bennett, his musical I.Q. and performing prowess, it became clear to me that I was not the most adept at commenting on this side of Chance. I am a big fan of good music and do believe myself to have a "good ear." However, Brendan Kirk, my fellow Weston High School student, surpasses me in understanding of Rap and Chance the Rapper as a subject.

When I asked Brendan to write a guest post about Chance, he  simply replied: 

I love Chance.

So for this post I turn it over to him...

It was obvious: everyone loved him; he loveD everyone; he worked hard; and he loooved to perfom.

Chancelor Bennett is arguably the most exciting and popular artist to come out of Chicago since Kanye West. He is the first artist from Chicago in several years to truly make such an impact on the world of hip-hop. The only reason I use the word "arguably" here is because I believe fellow SaveMoney affiliate, and high school peer Victor Mensah (a.k.a. Vic Mensa) makes a strong case as well.

A brief aside on Vic...

vic

Due to Vic's start in the hip-hop/blues/jazz collective Kids These Days, it's not a surprise that many of Vic's tracks are heavily infused with musical artistry and diversity. He frequently brings new things to the table, as does Chance, which creates a very innovative discography between the two of them.

Back to Chance.

Chance started the same as everyone else. Born Chancelor Bennett (but you might know him as Chance or Chano) on April 16, 1993, he is a mere 21 years old. To put that into perspective, both David and I could have ridden the bus to school with Chance every day if we had lived in Chicago and gone to the same school. From a young age, he showed plenty of interest in music, but kept his taste strictly to soul and jazz. By the time he turned double-digits, however, a brand new artist came onto the scene in his hometown cityKanye West. It was Kanye's first album, The College Dropout that marked the beginning of Chance's interest in rap.

In middle school, he participated in poetry programs at YOUmedia after begging the Lead Mentor, Mike Hawkins, to allow him to perform his rap songs instead of poetry. Later, Harold Washington Library put on a citywide contest with a simple topic: write a song for Chicago. Chano jumped on this opportunity, and submitted Beddy Bye.  Although it was never officially released, Chance got the opportunity to perform the song for important Chi-Towners, including the mayor, after placing second in the contest.

However, every great mind has an Achilles heel. For Chance, the only issue he had with his rapping was remembering his own lyrics. After Hawkins insisted he would not be able to captivate crowds if he continued forgetting his songs, Chance never failed to finish a track. Not long after, he experienced another roadblock. But great minds make the best out of hard timesin early 2011, Chance was suspended from school for two school weeks, ten days.

He was walking into school one day when he remembered he had a blunt in his pocket. As he recalls it, he said, "swoop," and proceeded to walk out the door. He then walked a few blocks down the street and ran into his friends smoking in an alleyway. Chance took out his pot to smoke it, and next thing he knew, he was cuffed by a police officer and brought to the school administration.

This unfortunate suspension turned out to be the luckiest thing to happen to Bennett. Thankfully for us listeners, he spent the two weeks working hard on new songs, wasting no time. In December of 2011, Chano released Windows as a public announcement of his new project, titled 10Day.

10Day was released four months later, on April 3, 2012 on DatPiff. It has since been downloaded 323,755 times, on DatPiff alone. After the release of 10Day, Chano was featured on Childish Gambino's ROYALTY Mixtape, which debuted on Independence Day of 2012. Chance joined Gambino on tour the same summer.

Just over a year after 10DayAcid Rap was released. It was Chance's second full-length piece and it blew 10Day out of the water in terms of downloads. Downloaded over 900,000 times on DatPiff, it became a DatPiff double-platinum tape.

It was after Acid Rap that Chance started to gather widespread acclaim as a rising star. In August 2013, he performed at Lollapalooza, and began his Social Experiment tour on October 25, ending on December 19. He continued to play shows for his adoring fans, and in June 2014 he played a fantastic set at Governor's Ball Musical Festival, where he debuted his masterful rendition of the Arthur theme David discussed earlier.

I should know - I was there, front and center. He rocked Gotham Tent for the full hour he was allotted and it was at this point that I knew he was going to explode even more than he had already. It was obvious: everyone loved him; he loved everyone; he worked hard; and he loooved to perform.

What's next for Chance? Well, he has a new mixtape looming with The Social Experiment and Donnie Trumpet, but as of now there is no official date set. All I have gathered is that Chance the Rapper, 21 years old, out of Chicago, will not disappoint.

 

Key tracks

10Day

14,400 Minutes

This song explains the story of Chance’s suspension and what happened afterwards with his academics. Cleverly titled, fourteen thousand four hundred equals 10 (days) times 60 (minutes in an hour) times 24 (hours in a day).

It’s a fun song to listen to, with light concepts, and cool instrumentation.

Windows

Windows was the first and only single released for Chance’s first project. Undoubtedly the most upbeat song on the mixtape, it’s a song about living life, and having a good time while doing it. Great summertime tune.

Hey Ma

To end 10Day, Chance drops a slow jam, thanking his mom for everything she’s done for him. He uses his classic Chanish style, resulting in a great song with a great subject matter. As the song closes, he lists off a handful of moms of the people that have helped him along the way, because according to him, without the mothers, there would be no 10Day, and no Chance The Rapper.

 

Acid Rap

Good Ass Intro

If you were to click play on an album and notice the first track is an intro, would you have any expectation that it would become one of your favorite songs? Would you expect that it took seven months to create the introduction on Chance’s follow-up project to 10Day?

The answer to both of these questions should invariably be no, but it did, in fact, take seven months, and many people have it ranked as their #1 Chano song. Chance himself calls it "the thesis of the tape," so I suggest you see for yourself why it really is a good-ass intro.

Pusha Man / Paranoia

The first song on this track, Pusha Man, displays Chance’s ultra-confidence in his talent as a musician, and as a rapper, among other things. The unique flow makes for 140 seconds that you don’t want to miss.

At the 2:48 mark, the hidden song, Paranoia, begins. This song is certainly Chance’s most powerful and emotional one. It’s also my favorite song of his. The title itself refers to the paranoia people from the Chi experience on a day-to-day basis. It covers the lack of coverage in the media about Chicago’s extreme violence. The song starts out strong with an excellent double entendre:

    “Move to the neighborhood; I bet they don’t stay for good, watch.
    Somebody’ll steal daddy’s Rollie, call it the neighborhood watch.”

Paranoia is deep, gritty, well done, and well worth multiple listens.

Interlude (That’s Love)

Typical Chance. Who else would make a two-plus minute interlude promoting love following a song about acknowledging self-worth? That’s Love won’t fail to bring a smile to your face, and if the lyrics are in front of you, prepare for a substantial helping of goosebumps.

Acid Rain

According to iTunes, I’ve listened to Acid Rain one hundred six times. If you’re unfamiliar with the iTunes play-counter, plays are measured by completion of a song. Because of this, mixed with the fact that my friends play the song on their phones a lot means that I’ve listened to that songs quite a few more times than just 106. It’s just too spectacular not to play it when I come across it.

In basic terms, without the intricate lyrics and Chanish wordplay, the song is a complex look at Chance’s life. He takes a look back, while on acid, reflecting on many things, including people he’s associated with, especially all the “spineless bitches in backless dresses.” Interesting flow, mixed with a great beat, adds up to endless replay value (and at least 106 plays!).

Everything’s Good (Good Ass Outro)

This project comes to a close in a deliberately similar way to that of 10Day. This time, Chance thanks his father in a phone conversation for always being there, rather than his mother like in the last mixtape.

Chano drops a few bars, in a very positive tone, discussing his up and downs, ultimately coming to the conclusion that everything’s good.

Once the vocals stop, there’s one more minute of beauty to be experienced. Chance takes elements from many of the songs on the mixtape, including Juice, Good Ass Intro, NaNa, and Favorite Song, to perfectly sum up the album.

 

The Social Experiment

Sunday Candy

The first single for SoX’s upcoming album, Surf, is an interesting one. Filled to the brim with horns and piano, Chance and friends detail Chance’s grandmother and her deep roots in Catholicism. Chano views the holy bread at his weekly communion as his “Sunday candy.”

No Better Blues

SoX and Chance deliver a song unlike anything I’ve ever heard with No Better Blues. All of Chance’s vocals consist of him listing things he “hates.” In reality, he doesn’t hate the things he talks about. Instead, he’s mocking all the people he encounters that live their lives negatively in an extremely bold way.


ACID RAP vs. 10day

While 10Day and Acid Rap are both great mixtapes in my opinion, they each have their own strengths, themes, topics, flows, musical value, etc.

10Day’s concepts are much less thoughtful than those that make up Acid Rap. In the former, the young artist spends a lot of time discussing his cigarette/pot-smoking interests, along with countless references to how many days he was suspended for. There is also a lot less musicality involved with 10Day than with his second tape. Make no mistake; I’m a big fan of 10Day. However, it is his first solo piece of work, so one shouldn’t expect the most mature mixtape, especially from a 19 year old.

Acid Rap is a very personal mixtape. Chano takes the listener on a trip with him through his life, and many songs are reflections on past decisions. This all culminates with Acid Rain, when Chance really explores himself with a microphone in his hand.

Lyricism isn’t the only thing that develops from mixtape to mixtape. Acid Rap also features much more instrumentation that adds to the layers of this work.


Genre

As David said previously, rap is theoretically nothing buy rhythm and poetry. But, for quite some time now, rap and hip-hop have been dominated by emcees like Dr. Dre, Jay-Z, Game, and Drake, who, while talented, tend to rap about concepts that Chance doesn’t really touch upon. I’m a big fan of Jay, and Dre, and I like Game, and I refuse to say they stick to rapping about “money, clothes, and hoes,” because that’s simply not true. I will say, however, that you won’t hear Chance rapping about it being a cold day in Miami before snitching on the hood, or that “bitches ain’t shit.”

  • Is Chance a rapper?

    • Yes, technically.

  • Does he fit in with rap culture?

    • Not always.

  • Does he bring something new to the game?

    • Absolutely.

Because of this, I feel that while Chance is talented, he isn’t quite a rapper in the everyday meaning of the word. Yeah, he fits the Oxford definition of “rapper,” but not every dictionary definition captures the true meaning of the word in common language. Meanings chance, and I personally believe that at this point in time, Chance isn’t simply a rapper. He’s more than that.

He’s a musician. A talented one.

 

Part 3 Next Week: The take away.