Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Consumer Guide Album

Chance the Rapper: The Big Day [self-released, 2019]
Since the rhyming may seem slack when you follow every word, why bother? As I've determined via the old-fashioned ploy of sticking my (burned) CD in my (overpriced) changer, the opener's choral "we-back" intro and self-sufficient lyric lighten up the room every time they come round, and that mood never dulls. Not one of the crowd of cameos is tossed off. Ben Gibbard reclaims his eternal boyhood, En Vogue relive their lost girlhood, CocoRosie put in their five seconds, two party-pooping, wisdom-dispensing male elders blend sagacity and pomposity with a comic flair dispersed by Randy Newman's disconsolate solace, and Nicki Minaj bids her rap career farewell with the theme outro "It's possible, it's possible/It's possible to me." And the strongest rhymes redound to Chance solo: "Found a Good One" and his half of the Minaj-topped finale. Both celebrate his wedding day with a cred the cameos only flesh out, a cred that will endure as art even if the marriage itself fails--this is showbiz, after all. Best wishes to the happy couple and all their progeny. A