Chance the Rapper's "Angels" needn't apologize for its earnest attempts to console and uplift and shines all the brighter for them.
John Tryneski: As a born southsider and early Kanye lover it's hard to stay objective when responding to Chance the Rapper's particular style of technicolor, soul-sampling, White Sox-bumping street pop. After Chance premiered "Angels" on Colbert in a Power 92 t-shirt (with Saba repping WGCI, naturally) it's hard to imagine a more Chicago-centric rendition and yet this video takes its Chicagoness to the next level. I can see how some might grow weary of the Chance's children's cartoon video style and ultra-upbeat production, but every element feels in perfect harmony to me. Especially coming as the southside struggles with a second straight year of rising gun violence, "Angels" needn't apologize for its earnest attempts to console and uplift and shines all the brighter for them. And hey, Chance has also somehow managed to piss off a New York Post columnist, which is always considered a win in Chicago. [9/10]
Chris Ingalls: A fun, infectious number with a true kitchen sink production style -- steel drums, horns, disembodied backing vocals -- everyone's invited to the party, which has a gloriously retro, Funkadelic/Earth Wind & Fire feel. Chance the Rapper spits out rhymes gleefully while Saba provides a nice counterpoint. The summer jam of 2016? It's a contender. [8/10]
Kevin Korber: Hanging out with Kanye has its benefits, apparently. Chance feels like he absorbed Kanye’s ambition without adopting the self-destructive streak. “Angels” is a celebration, a joyous statement of intent for anyone who slept on Acid Rap back in 2013. There may have been worries about whether a guy as idiosyncratic and weird as Chance could handle a brighter spotlight. Not only can he handle it, he wants it. Bad. [7/10]
Pryor Stroud: Saturated with Chance's custom brand of quick-footed hip-hop wordplay, "Angels" is textured with micro-bursts of gospel uplift, brass section effusions, and skittering percussive digressions. Saba's hook, in particular, hits like an unimpeded blast of dopamine injected directly into one of your neural pathways, and it almost steals the spotlight from Chance's nimble, spitfire verses -- almost, that is, but not quite. [8/10]
John Bergstrom: Those people on the L are having a lot more fun with this song than I am. [5/10]
Emmanuel Elone: Chance the Rapper is by no means the best rapper, but nobody can say that he's boring or unoriginal, and "Angels" proves it. With an upbeat, jazz-influenced instrumental with some horns and potent snares, this song is brimming with as much personality as Chance, and would easily fit on the Surf album by the Chicagoan and Donnie Trumpet & the Experiment. Lyrically, Chance the Rapper is having fun, and Saba joins him as they spit some light-hearted bars. They could have come through with something just slightly more serious and focused, but it doesn't change the fact that "Angels" is a great hip-hop single by Chance that showcases all that we've come to know and love about him. [7/10]
Chad Miller: Chance sounds like he's having a lot of fun here. The feeling is easy to emulate for the listener too. Chance somehow makes self-congratulatory lyrics sound fresh, and Saba's verse is pretty sweet in comparison, proclaiming to "Wear your halo like a hat / that's like the latest fashion." The song is sweet, funny, and altogether empowering. [8/10]