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Let's All Go Ahead and Agree to Make "No Problem" the Song of the Summer

This summer, it’s your duty to leap over like 12 picnic tables listening to these verses.

I’m already comfortable saying that Chance the Rapper’s new album Coloring Book is something of a masterpiece: It’s a thoughtful ode to Chicago, a gorgeous vision quest through the realm of gospel and jazz and juke and rap, a love letter to contemporary hip-hop in all its forms, a victory lap for a young man who is rapidly building his case as the most exciting artist of his generation. But we’ll get to that later.


Right now let’s talk about what may be its biggest coup: “No Problem,” Chance’s best entry for a smash pop single yet.

For all of Chance’s successes—a wildly passionate fan base that’s made him one of the most reliable touring draws in the country, collaborations with everyone from Bieber to Skrillex to Kanye to Madonna, a role as White Sox ambassador, becoming the first-ever artist to release a free album on iTunes and the first independent artist to perform on SNL, etc.—there is a swath of people who will never be able to fathom the idea of him as a top-tier artist until he’s scored an actual hit single. Which, millions of downloads of his music aside, is somewhat fair. He hasn’t had the kind of viral hit that many of his less famous contemporaries can claim. Sure, it’s a little rich for radio to decry his lack of radio play when the most apparent thing holding that back is a lack of label payola—er, uh, promotion—but, as long as that remains a credibility hurdle, we as a society have a problem that we need to solve. So let’s get Chance his hit. Can he do it?

“No Problem” argues yes, both in the direct sense that it’s an absolute banger that captures the purest pop essence of all of Chance’s gospel-juke fusion impulses and in a winking fashion, by featuring two of the most reliable radio feature artists of the last decade, 2 Chainz and Lil Wayne. To say that “No Problem” isn’t pop hit material would be arguing against history. It would also be arguing against all is good and pure in the world, with that chopped-up choir that sounds like literal sunbeams floating in over the drums. And those drums themselves, which knock so hard it's godly. And those disembodied croons that swoop in over 2 Chainz as he says “me and God dappin’.” This beat sounds like a block party and a beach party and a backyard party all in one. I mean, Chance made the greatest sing-along hook ever about going to check the mail. He made his toughest song ever sound like a baptism. He said “counting benjies while we meeting make em shake my other hand.” He chided “don’t tweak bro, it’s never sweet ho / my shooters come for free though” like he was both Childish Gambino and Future. It’s hard to imagine a song that feels more like Chicago, or a song that more succinctly captures Chance’s appeal. After all, he made the other part of the hook about seeing him ride around the city.


So here we are, firmly in Chance’s world. That’s established. Let’s talk about those other verses because holy shit. Here are just some good as hell 2 Chainz lines:

– “where the hell you get them from? Yeezy said he ain't made them”
– “my niggas chasing bounty hunters / and getting chased by their baby mamas”
– ”got a pocket full of money, and a mind full of ideas / some of this shit may sound weird / inside of the Maybach look like it came out of Ikea”
– “aye, aye, captain / I'm high, captain / I'm so high / me and God dappin'”
– ”this is my blessin' / this is my passion / school of hard knocks / I took night classes”

Ah shit, that’s like the whole verse, huh? Well well well, looks like yet another Tity Boi classic. Funny how that goes. But now that we’re up to the transition between the Chainz verse and the Wayne, let’s just also point out how goddamn musical all of these verses are. Some people will tell you that rap is just poetry over a beat, but “No Problem” is as good an exhibit as any that this is absolutely not the case. This song is a master class in riding a beat. These verses coast more smoothly than Chano riding through the streets. This is how you rap and make it sound like a song. This is how you rap and get the whole barbecue doing backflips dancing in the backyard. This summer, it’s your duty to leap over like 12 picnic tables listening to these verses.

And then Wayne. Let’s talk Wayne. Wayne, the embattled greatest rapper of all time, the guy who has, by most accounts, spent the last half-decade wandering the musical desert with little more than various elaborately described vaginal fluids to sustain him. Wayne has, realistically, probably rapped more lights-out verses in the last two years than most rappers ever do in their entire careers, but it’s not particularly en vogue to stan for Wayne verses in 2016 (god bless y’all for listening to J. Cole while there’s literally any Lil Wayne to listen to, but that’s a separate conversation). But he hasn’t had the kind of event verse that everyone knew word-for-word and made him such an unfuckwithable presence circa 2008 in a while. May I submit: this verse. This is prime Wayne. This is everything you have ever liked about Wayne. This is Wayne sounding tortured and effortlessly stunting about his inhuman ability at the same time (“Free the Carter, niggas need the Carter / Sacrificing everything I feel like Jesus Carter”). This is Wayne in peak gurgled Auto-Tune rap (“I got problems bigger than these boys / my deposits they be on steroooids”). This is Wayne pulling up and hitting an 8x combo with the flow (“Hold up, I got this sewed up / my soda poured up / My woes up, I'm flippin' those bucks / they doing toe tucks / I roll up and let the smoke puff”), not to mention switching flows so naturally that using technical rap terms like “switching flows” is an insult to what he does. There are god-level punchlines delivered as laconically as you can imagine (“Half a milli in the safe, another in the pillowcase / codeine got me moving slower than a caterpillar race”). And then there’s the line upon which everything really turns, the dazzling internal rhyme flipping from introspective to tough that is “Hold up, get too choked up when I think of old stuff / Move on, put my goons on, they kidnap newborns.” That is classic Wayne. Put it in the books. Move on. Et cetera.

“No Problem” is the harbinger of what Coloring Book has to offer in full: It is not just a good song, it is a song on which Chance, like his idol Kanye, manages to bring the best out of all the component parts and make a finished product that feels like something only he could have envisioned. It deserves to be a pop smash. It deserves to be Chance’s pop smash. You should play it literally any time the sun shines this summer, any time you find yourself in a car with the windows rolled down, any time you find yourself on a roof. Try to stay still when it comes on. Try not to feel cool. I promise you can’t.

Kyle Kramer will be waiting in the lobby for anyone who disagrees. Follow him on Twitter.