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"The Man Who Has Everything" Chance The Rapper

by Panagiotis Argitis - Editor-in-Chief
Tue, Feb 5th 2019 04:00 pm

By the standards of classics like “Jingle Bell Rock” by Bobby Helms or even “Santa Claus is Coming to Town” by Frank Sinatra, the holiday season revolves around smiles, blessings and most importantly, happiness. The majority of holiday-inspired songs speak on the pretty, but fail to mention the ugly side of things. Chicago native and artist Chance The Rapper tackles the ugly by rhyming on the modern-day reality of materialism and racial profiling in his most recent single “The Man Who Has Everything.” 

The single dropped at the beginning of December 2018 and was partnered with “My Own Thing,” to signal the end of another year for the rapper. Despite closing 2018 without a new album to his name, Chance left us with an introspective and vivid song that takes a different spin than most Christmas records. 

The title of the single might sound cocky at first and the first line, “what to get for the man who has everything” doesn’t help the cause, but “The Man Who Has Everything” is far from that. Instead, Chance expresses his gratitude towards everything that life has given him and wishes for change. 

The rapper’s rhyme scheme throughout the single mirrors writing on Christmas lists. That list starts after the first two lines of the song and continues through to the very last line. His list begins with the wish of “turning confederate flags into confetti strings,” which he elaborates by painting a picture of the current relationship between African Americans and law enforcement. 

He adds to the color by comparing the repeating cycle of killings of unarmed black people by police to “Christmas treetops” and “freeze stops.” Chance continues his list by wishing Santa Claus shows up to doors he never rang, a metaphor dedicated to young black Americans who live in Chicago’s West Chatham, a neighborhood filled with crime and the place where the rapper was raised. The smart play on words and entendres speak for themselves and only make the song more powerful. 

As the song’s last hook comes into play, Chance wishes for a more meaningful Christmas and revisits the idea of what Christmas means. His verses take a turn from the racial profiling to focus on the materialism that has steered the holiday’s celebration as of recent. 

“Don’t teach him about Santa until you teach him about Jesus,” is the opening line of his argument towards what Christmas is meant to be about, which he follows by explaining the importance of family and love. Chance continues and sheds light on the parts of Christmas that have been overshadowed by expensive gifts and toys. The idea of religion might not play a role for everyone who celebrates the holiday but is instead a reminder of what the holiday was founded on. 

The holiday-inspired rap isn’t for all audiences and definitely is not meant to be played for celebratory reasons, but is a rather a delicate piece of work, one to be listened to and admired for its honesty and truth about the modern day American Christmas.

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