At the top of the year, Chance the Rapper seemed to be having the time of his life in Accra, Ghana. On Instagram, he posted his treks around the city and the woods, posed in front of incredible architecture, and even sat down with the country’s president. “I have so much to share with you, brothers and sisters,” he wrote in one caption. Chance has now released a single born of this formative trip — one that’s as much an experience as it is a song.
“Child of God,” featuring Ghanaian-American singer Moses Sumney, is the rapper’s first release as a lead artist of 2022. Child of God also exists through March 29 as an art exhibition at Chicago’s Museum of Contemporary Art. The Gabonese visual artist Naïla Opiangah, who Chance met in Accra, created an 6’x11’ tall painting — an intricate web of Black women’s nude bodies, as is her signature — inspired by the experiences of and conversations between she and Chance.
The “Child of God” music video depicts the symbiotic creation of Opiangah’s painting and Chance’s song, as the pair work in airy, open space in the rapper’s multipurpose studio, House of Kicks. Opiangah’s canvas towers towards the high ceilings as Chance raps with Biblical imagery and personal verve.
While it seems like Chance’s children of God can be of any age, meditations on youth — a prominent theme of Chance’s work — shine through the second verse. “At every corner store, bodega, delicatessen, stands a big-head kid learning delicate lessons,” he raps. “Half-sized, chastised dolls with glass eyes, talked down, tossed down, the world just pass by.” The rapper becomes emboldened when he lists the power these young people develop as they do.
“This song is about confidence, purpose and process,” Chance wrote on Instagram some hours before its release. Sounding reinvigorated on “Child of God,” he seems to be leaning into all three.