Not too long ago, Chance the Rapper announced on Snapchat and Instagram that he and Lil B, the Basedgod had recorded a collaboration project together. Many fans simply waved this off in disbelief, as the news came out of nowhere. It was especially surprising as Chance and Lil B have never worked on anything together in the past as well as having no well-known contact with each other. However, today, Chance and Lil B dropped Free (Based Freestyles Mixtape) out of thin air, a six track project consisting solely of freestyles. After listening to the two rap together for a total of 34:82 minutes it makes you wonder why these two haven’t teamed up together until now.
The mixtape starts off strong with a track titled “Last Dance,” which is essentially an announcement that they are rapping together and that it’s going to be excellent. The beat is some sort of spectacular mix of a Chicago soul sample and a ton of snare drums. Lil B starts off with his usual flow consisting of clever yet ridiculous lyrics like
“I’m like in the fucking cut, I’m like a mummy/ I got so much money I need a fucking mummy,”
while Chance follows up with his usual unique style of rapping. NoName Gypsy even makes a guest appearance, which is a nice surprise by the end of the track. “What’s Next” follows with Chance clarifying that his tape was in fact not a joke. Both Chance and Lil B spit well over the trappy soul beat, and Lil B switches it up at the end to spit a nice little sing-songy hook.
While the aforementioned songs start the tape of strong it only gets better with “First Mixtape.” Lil B and Chance almost get a little back and forth going until Chance takes over the song and spits a long freestyle where he shows why he isn’t known for his freestyling efforts. It gets a bit choppy until Lil B comes in to close out the track. “Amen” sounds like something that could have been cut from Chance’s critically acclaimed Acid Rap with deep, meaningful lines from Chance like:
“Simba is stuck in the jungle tonight and I want to be/ regular as one, two, three,/ and the 3/4 time sig.”
He even lets us know that Nate Fox is helping out with the production with a quick shout out (Fox produced a great deal of Acid Rap’s bigger hits). It is truly a stand out for the whole of the mix tape. Both Chance and Lil B use some unique flow paired with fantastic lyrics to create what must be the “magic” that Chance mentioned was put into this project.
“Do My Dance” has much of the same magical feel with less of the Acid Rap influence, and it’s tries a little bit too hard with the glittery synth behind all the trap influence. However, the lyrics on the song builds the aura of the respect that both of the artists have for one another. Finally, “We Rare” finishes off the tape with a nice splash of funky trap. Chance’s hook is spot on style wise, and the beat lets him show off how gifted of a rapper he is. The same goes for Lil B, who kills it as well with his own laid back flow.
Free really makes you wonder why these two rapper haven’t hit the studio together before. They both benefited from meteoric rises thanks to the internet and both have highly dedicated followings all while bringing unique styles to the game. While Lil B remains the more consistent freestyler on the tape Chance shows that he has developed his talent and become more of a proficient off the top rhymer. While his flow isn’t all that consistent he really gets to show off his entire toolbox of rapping skills and styles. The trap style that he uses on “We Rare” along with the hook show a side of Chance that I hope to see more of. Despite all this, one of the best parts of this mixtape is that neither rapper outshines the other. The equal amount of quality bars these two rappers spit is astonishing.
While the lyrical content is of quality, the production is on point as well. The soul vocals in the backgrounds of “Last Dance” and “What’s Next” with the snare and trap influence make them great to freestyle over. The more synthy and distorted production on “Amen” are wonderful and make it another certified Nate Fox produced hit. The low point of the production comes on “Do My Dance” where the background synth doesn’t quite fit with all the high hats. Fortunately, it’s easily forgotten as the unique trap influenced beat of “We Rare” is a perfect sendoff to the mixtape. Overall the beats culminate into a perfect mixture of acid and based beats for both of the rappers to flow over.
More importantly, the production on each of the songs is perfect for both of the rappers to go off the top on. And this album is most definitely all freestyled. The long transitions from rap to talking that Chance and Lil B take to give shout outs and hype up the other rapper on songs throughout the project definitely seem like moments where both of the MCs are brainstorming their next few bars. These could also be times when they simply couldn’t think of any other material. The choppiness of some of the verses like on “What’s Next” also are evidence that these are indeed freestyles. The fact that these two could put together such a quality project consisting only of freestyles is damn impressive, a thought that NoName Gypsy agrees with on “Last Dance.”
All in all, this album makes me eager to hear when these two get in the studio and put together a fully thought out track or project together. Lil B and Chance compliment each other well, and I think they have the potential to reach the heights of collaboration fame with the likes of El-P and Killer Mike, two other rappers from different parts of the country that have come together to create excellent hip-hop. This is something even James Harden would bump during practice, maybe even Kevin Durant too. The amount of material Chance has put out this year is promising as well, and hopefully Lil B will show up on his forthcoming album. One can only hope, right? Let us know what you thought of Free below!