What constitutes The Big Day for an artist who, at just 26 years of age, has already seen so many? For Grammy-award-winning Chicago MC Chance the Rapper, it’s the release of his first official album, of course, but also the acknowledgment of a crucial personal milestone. The album may follow the unending acclaim for two album-quality “mixtapes” (as designated by Chance himself), the Best Rap Album Grammy, winning BET Humanitarian and NAACP Image awards, and his purchase of the Chicagoist website-but all that pales in comparison to the MC saying “I do” to his longtime girlfriend and the mother of his daughter in March 2019. “My wedding was the best wedding of all time,” Chance tells Apple Music’s Zane Lowe. “They need to make a movie about it. And the type of music that was playing was very similar and very, very inspirational to the music that's on this album.”
The album, then, is a reflection of life as Chance sees it from that day forward, with Lil Chano embracing his roles as father, husband, and prodigious MC-the man, in and out of his household. To help tell the story, he’s called on some of the most revered voices of the moment (including Megan Thee Stallion, Smino, and DaBaby), and some that might only work this well together if facilitated by someone with Chance’s eclectic musical taste and range (Randy Newman, En Vogue, Benjamin Gibbard of Death Cab for Cutie). “I really wanted to work as a producer and build these tracks up to be stuff that can get played on the day when you bring your kid home for the first time, or at a soccer game, or just skateboarding or whatever you want to do,” he says. “To give them the music that makes you feel like movement.”
Just like on Coloring Book, there’s gospel running through The Big Day, as Chance declares his faith early and often, a devotion matched only by his commitment to his wife and their family. “One thing to always remember/They here today, but we’ll be together forever!” he belts on “I Got You (Always and Forever).” He gets serious about his legacy on songs like “Do You Remember” and “Sun Come Down,” but makes it a point to reassure listeners that everything turns out the way it’s supposed to on “5 Year Plan.” But if there’s anything Chance might like us to take away from the album, it can be heard in his continuous integration of Chicago’s classic house music rhythms and the pop-leaning instrumentation of his band and in-house production crew, The Social Experiment. Like any good groom, he just wants us to dance.