Rappers announcing joint albums with other rappers is equivalent to Aesop's The Boy Who Cried Wolf Fable. The same way that the shepherd boy would work up nearby villagers by screaming wolf, rappers work up their fans by making us believe that a big collaboration is coming. Time and time again announcements are made and hope is born from this promise, but rarely do we see any results. Back in June of 2014, Childish Gambino cried collaboration by tweeting, “Now that Chance finally released his verse on “Worst Guys,” maybe he can hurry up and finish the rest of our EP. #hinthint.”
There was no information surrounding a joint project between the two prior to this tweet and very little information came after. It felt like just another urban legend, an album that would sit on the shelf between I Can’t Feel My Face and Act II. After Gambino removed himself from the internet and Chance went off to work with The Social Experiment all hope was pretty much lost. I don’t even remember the last time the two have been seen together. Not surprisingly, during a Reddit AMA in support of Coloring Book, a Reddit user asked, “Chance Does the Chance and Childish Gambino collab album/mixtape still exist” and his reply was simply “Yes.” Per usual, the internet lost its collective mind as if it was June of 2014 all over again.
Usually, I’m anti joint albums. Drake and Kanye, Kendrick and J. Cole - as much as I love them separate, I have a hard time believing they’ll be better together. On the other hand, I’m actually intrigued by the idea of a Chance and Childish mixtape.
Their musical relationship dates back to 2012. A few months after the release of Chance’s 10day mixtape, Childish put out Royalty, which was a huge deal since this was the first big project to come after his debut album Camp. A young Chance The Rapper is featured on the song “They Don’t Like Me.” Not just featured, it’s basically his song. Gambino only has a few bars in the beginning letting the young Chicago buzzmaker off the leash to decimate the record. The co-sign opened up ears to Chance. Gambino also took him on tour, one of my favorite lines from Acid Rap is, “Nightly searches for a bed and I just came off tour with Troy.”
The two would go on to collaborate on Acid Rap’s “Favorite Song,” the aforementioned Because Of The Internet's “Worst Guys” and Childish Gambino’s Clapping For The Wrong Reason short film. Their work history proved a chemistry, the two complimented each other well, it's audibly obvious that an entire project together could work. It also helps that Chance and Childish aren’t signed to major labels. Childish is still signed to Glassnote Records, an indie label with distribution through Universal. Chance is completely independent, signed to no one, opening up the opportunity for a project to be released without much red tape from some man upstairs in a swivel chair. However, despite everything always having been in favor of this mixtape/EP/album actually coming out and potentially being excellent, I believe it will never see the light of day.
Childish's tweet in 2014 stated the EP was unfinished. When he went on Rosenberg in September, in his freestyle he lashed out against Spin Magazine for loving Chance but giving Because Of The Internet a poor review. He mentions the EP again, “And I wonder what they'd say if that EP drop, 'His verse was wack, his verse was hot.'” The key word here is “if,” once again bringing attention to the fact a project does exist but never stating if the project was coming soon or coming at all. Chance’s answer during his AMA only confirms its existence, what we already knew, but never elaborating further on the current state of the album.
If you think about it, this album is potentially two to three years old. If not older. It would be surprising if either artist wanted to release this material. Chance is a completely different artist than he was during Acid Rap, and we haven’t heard anything from Gambino since Kauai, so the chances of these two deciding to backtrack and unleash older tunes is slim to none.
I could be wrong. It’s possible that in secrecy Chance and Gambino have been working together this entire time, plotting on this big, internet breaking release. Especially since Childish has been silent and Chance has risen to the top, these two together would really shake things up. But I just don’t believe we will ever hear this collaboration in it’s entirety. Too much time has passed. Coloring Book just came out, Gambino is working on his series for FX, the two are in completely different spaces right now.
Until one of them decides to really give us a few specifics or release a taste of their collaborative efforts, I’ll keep my excitement down to the size of an ant. I'd recommend you do the same.