Last week, gifted Chicago oddball Chance the Rapper—who saw his profile skyrocket after the release of 2013's Acid Rap—released his anxiously awaited follow-up, Surf, for free on iTunes. Given that the album is actually credited to Donnie Trumpet & the Social Experiment, it's not just another rap tape from Chance. He and his bandmates have extrapolated Acid Rap's broader instincts (with dashes of BK's Phony Ppl and To Pimp a Butterfly) into a guest-heavy, carefree black pop/R&B/jazz album that's bound to be emulated. (Erykah Badu, Jeremih, Quavo from Migos, among plenty of others, all fold into the batter.) Chance was already low-key, one of the most emulated rappers of his generation, and that isn't always a bad thing. (See our city's up-next talent Dave B, who's clearly inspired by him.) But if you're not put off by Chance's voice straight out the gate—it's cool, I see y'all—this is another much-needed breath of fresh air. And we're all here for it. So there's that to be grateful for, right?
I'm always thankful for new music from Seattle's Sax G, too. His new instrumental EP, Lullaby of the Forbidden Dancer, further pushes his watery ASM R&B aesthetic (last glimpsed on his exquisite 2013 Tu Me Manques album) into the ether, achieving an expansive, womb-like electronic chill in less than 10 minutes' running time. I'd love to hear Sax rap again, but this is a lovely respite from the chaos.
And speaking of chaos: RIP, Antonio Zambrano-Montes—an unarmed orchard worker shot from behind and killed by police in Pasco back in February after allegedly throwing rocks at the police. RIP, Daniel Covarrubias, who was killed by Lakewood cops last month after he was caught running through a lumberyard. (Covarrubias allegedly pointed his phone "like a gun" at the officers.) My thoughts are with the Olympia brothers Andre Thompson and Bryson Chaplin—two shoplifting suspects shot by an OPD officer after they allegedly assaulted him with a skateboard. (Thompson and Chaplin are reportedly in stable condition.) As it gets closer and closer to home, ask yourself: What will your loved ones be doing to justify the state-sanctioned lead they're force-fed?
Not using this column as a bully pulpit to scream about this war is not representative of some kind of editorial mandate, or even an indication that I find rap music more important than this constant Bull Connor fire hose of misery. (I fucking don't.) Rather, it's a concession to my mental health and general well-being. That's no exaggeration. I hope and pray that all of you out there who think (or do) something about a ll this ugliness on the daily are doing what you need to do to keep yourselves together through all of the trauma, pain, and (quite literal) triggers. Stay safe, stay sane, we need you.