Acid Rap dropped in the twilight of high school, soundtracking the following summer. Arriving on campus, I was astonished that fellow freshmen from across the country knew a mixtape that at the time was a distinctly regional sensation. “Juice” and “Favorite Song” were dorm party favorites and each new collaboration garnered at least a few plays. At the time, his underground following and proximity to South Bend made him perfect for a spring concert. Now he’s headlining Lollapalooza. Alas.
Chano released “Angels” in the fall of 2015. It appeared unceremoniously on his Soundcloud on an October Tuesday. I was in the midst of a semester in Europe, and I desperately missed home and all that came with it. Chance devoted a whole bar of his first verse to four straight “igh igh igh igh”s for his fans, and it felt like he had flown transatlantic to give me a hug. I played the track on loop for an hour straight. All semester, I never stopped. With closing shout-outs to Chicago rap radio playing in my earbuds, I could fool myself into thinking the Thames was just another part of Lake Shore Drive. The chorus was all the affirmation I needed, that I had angels waiting for me across the ocean.
Back on campus, the song never echoed out of windows like “No Problem” or “All Night” did. Maybe the beat is too fast to dance, the lyrics too earnest to yell. It’s not the “blueprint for a real man,” but it’s the closest I’ve got. “Angels” has always been there, at my lowest moments and my happiest. It just feels like home, wherever that is.
Originally published on NDSMCObserver.