It's hard to believe that this is Chance the Rapper's first studio album.

He debuted on the music scene in 2012 with his explosive mixtape, 10 Day, and since has dropped two more massively popular mixtapes and picked up three Grammys, including the 2017 award for best rap album.

But this is the first project to which he's ever attached the label "album", and you can hear the effort he's put into making a statement on it.

First off, he's called in a phonebook of featuring artists, including hip-hop stars like Timbaland, Gucci Mane and Nicki Minaj, and others from across the pop world including Shawn Mendes, Death Cab for Cutie's Ben Gibbard, Bon Iver's Justin Vernon and R&B star John Legend.

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He also got his family involved, with brother Taylor rapping on Roo, and a song co-written by his father Ken (Eternal). Not to mention the fact that the entire album seems to be a love letter to his wife, Kirsten Corley, their 3-year-old daughter and his baby still on the way, with songs like Do You Remember reminiscing about playing with his daughter, and Zanies recalling the day he first met his wife.

All of the skits on the album (Photo Ops, 4 Quarters in the Black, and Our House) are set at wedding - hence, The Big Day - but it's not so much a concept album as you might expect, as it is a collection of feelings and reflections about how far he's come and how he's settling into fame.

It's not as rooted in gospel as Colouring Book but it still carries that thread and adds it to this familial vibe to create a kind of block party, backyard barbecue feel, steeped in sunlight, ease and joy.

At 22 tracks and a notable lack of conceptual cohesion, The Big Day - as an album rather than a mixtape - is simply too long. It is artfully designed to be heard in one sitting and so it never quite feels like a chore, but it's certainly an ask.

If you love rap, but you also want some gospel, soul, pop and honest, insightful storytelling with your bars, The Big Day is for you - just be ready to strap in for the long haul.


Chance the Rapper, The Big Day

Artist: Chance the Rapper
Album: The Big Day
Label: Self-released
Verdict: A musical and spiritual journey - but one that might leave you jetlagged.