When Surf, Chance the Rapper’s debut album, dropped this summer without warning, the music world was left with a lot to absorb. With features from hip-hop and R&B mainstays like Big Sean, B.O.B., J. Cole, and Jeremih, it was easy to get caught up in Surf’s star-studded cast. But the real gem of the album is its one and only single: “Sunday Candy.” Chance has always been known for fusing genres old and new, ranging from gospel all the way to trap music. He’s always been at his best here–melding genres into exciting, energetic, passionate tunes that make it impossible to sit still.
“Sunday Candy” opens with a few choppy piano chords–they feel improvised, happy, and bright. Then we hear Chance start to sing. Then tubas and horns start to blare. It sounds like Chance asked a marching band to jump on the track with him and his buddies. The music gets more layered as the song goes on, and you can’t help but get sucked in from the get-go. The chorus is sung by relatively unknown but undeniably gifted Jamila Woods–it’s heartfelt, sincere, and warm. “I been waiting for you for the whole week/I been praying for you you’re my sunday candy”. After Jamila’s soulful, stripped down exhibition, the drums kick in and “Sunday Candy” transforms into a frenetic footworking anthem. Chance gets you on your feet, turned up, and wanting to give your grandma a call all at the same time.
What I love about Chance is he raps about what he knows and what he feels. You’ll never hear him going on about the newest cars, fashion, or supermodels he wants to smash. He just loves making music with his friends. In “Sunday Candy”, he raps about his grandma and what it feels like to be home. In a particularly outstanding couple of lines, Chance raps that his grandma is “Pan-fried, sun-dried, Southside/and beat the devil by a landslide”. His rhymes change flow and rhythm within seconds, but his sincerity and passion are a constant.
At the end of “Sunday Candy”, the tune breaks down into a full-on, belt-it-out gospel reprieve, backed only by a thumping drum kick. By now, the song has changed in genre at least a couple of times, but never does it feel fake or forced. The changes in pace and instrumentation are natural, unpredictable, and more than welcome. As they sing, Chance and his friends beg us to “come on in this house/’cause it’s gonna rain”. Whether we’re headed inside to pray, party, dance, or call home, it doesn’t matter–Chance will still make sure we have a blast.