Chance the Rapper’s tweet announcing re-releases of his original two mixtapes sparked two reactions in me: nostalgia for a huge part of my growing up and the need to review the Chicago rapper’s whole catalog, starting with 10 Day. This mixtape always brings back memories. I heard Chance before I heard 10 Day, so I’ll try to restrain from the fangirl review, stay fair to the readers, and keep some objectivity in my rating. Let’s get it!
Obviously, this album was Chance’s introduction to the world. It was the first time that we heard those “Ooo”, “Ahh”, and “Eee” adlibs that he has become famous for. One thing that stands out the most when you revisit this project is Chance’s seeming innocence. Sure he has tracks like “Prom Night”, “Nostalgia”, and “Brain Cells” that are filled with fun, child-like material, yet then he mixes in some very hard hitting material. “Missing You” discusses the violence of Chicago streets and directly relates to a friend of his who was stabbed and killed in front of him. It shows his commitment at an early age to fixing this problem.
Sure he could’ve just focused on fun things and really played to that high school audience he had with this first tape, but he still focused on pushing his message across. We also see a huge amount of features on here of people that weren’t really heard of before 10 Day. Guys like Vic Mensa and Alex Wiley plus Peter CottonTale and Nico Segal (formerly known as Donnie Trumpet) were all on here and only went up after this. Plus I love the chorus of “Windows” utilizing Akenya Seymour for that melody. Music to my ears. “Fuck You Tahm Bout” might be the most comical track on this whole mixtape because it feels in every way, shape, and form like a diss track about every person who ever wronged him in high school.
Now I could go on for paragraphs and paragraphs about “Prom Night” alone. The nostalgia factor for this song is just so high for me. The memories I have of listening to this song in high school and even now feel endless. I feel like for many hip hop fans in my generation who fell in love with Chance, especially when Acid Rap dropped, still know that this is one of the best songs in his entire catalog. Primarily because we all have those moments we can think back to that surround this song.
“Here’s a brighter bulb for your limelight
And this is your night, homie, shine bright
This for everybody’s fucking prom night.”
Just a great song all around. Then, of course, the Chicago rapper chose to finish with “Hey Ma” which is the perfect outro track.
Chance and his production team created an on-point vibe throughout. It feels like the perfect mix of soul influence, jazz samples, and hip-hop rhythms and flows. I love the use of the sample to switch-up to a piano interlude on “Missing You”. “Long Time” samples the instrumentals of the track “Nantes” by the indie band Bierut which I think is a pretty unique style. I especially love the horns in the back of that track as well.
My favorite beat has to go to “Juke Juke”. The speed and flow of those hi-hats are just too fun not to want to get up and dance. As mentioned before, Nico Segal was featured on “Long Time II”. Hands down my favorite trumpeter in the game right now and at points on this song it almost feels like he is singing with his instrument. If you haven’t already, make sure to check out his own project Surf and especially the tracks “Nothing Came To Me” and “Something Came To Me”.
I really appreciate that Chance didn’t try and remaster the original version of this mixtape. It still feels very raw and rough. There are still fadeouts that go on for far too long and transitions that don’t make a lot of sense. But you have to remember that he made this his senior year of high school with most likely limited funds. So I will cut him some slack on that aspect. I have been on rants in my last few reviews about the current age of streaming but this really brings you back to before the days where streams didn’t matter so much. Look at the track lengths on this thing. “Prom Night” is five and a half minutes alone.
This being a mixtape though also raises another point I would like to make. I miss the days of “discovering” music on SoundCloud and DatPiff. Obviously, you can still “discover” new artists this way but it just doesn’t feel the same as it did before the days of Apple Music, Spotify, and people being known as “SoundCloud rappers”. It’s not often anymore that we see rawness and minimal production similar to this project. This is a mixtape, and therefore it is imperfect. It has mixing issues, weird transitions, and no true overarching flow of tracks. Yet at the same time, it feels very distinctly like an early 2010s mixtape which you have to add the nostalgia factor too.
“U Got Me Fucked Up”, “Long Time II”, “Prom Night”, “Family”, and “Hey Ma”
Is 10 Day a “classic” like Alex Wiley proclaims on “Windows”? No…I have to reserve that title for Acid Rap. However, I do believe that this mixtape is a true gem when it comes to the development of the new wave of rap. It really brings me back to those days when I first starting listening to Chance and thought I was the shit for bumping this “underground” Chicago artist. Little did I know back then that he would get to the point that he is at today. Look, I love this tape for all those memories and if I were to rate this subjectively, it would be a perfect ten for that reason. But I can’t as that’s not why you, the reader, are here. Therefore, I have to give 10 Day a:
Still a really good score but I can’t lie and say it has no flaws. At the same time though, it was the introduction of my favorite rapper. Plus don’t forget the fan theory about the cover art…he was still looking up at the hip hop industry at this point.