Chance The Rapper – “Same Drugs” – Music Video Discussion

Chance The Rapper’s Coloring Book is a rare example of an instantly captivating record. It’s also rare in the sense that there are no bad songs on here. Whereas most records take time to grow on you or a few listens to understand, this mixtape was straight to the point yet so intricately produced and very meaningful. I actually still remember the first time I listened to this in full, not knowing what to do with myself for at least a half hour after because I had so many thoughts in my mind from the music. There were aspects of this that felt like a dream with the way the composition was handled and thought provoking lyrics that describe so many of life’s most interesting moments. It felt as if I was reborn, and that I could do whatever I set my mind to. I felt such positivity after hearing this, even in the moments that might not have been meant to be exactly happy. “Same Drugs” is one of them. This is a song that easily became one of my favorites, mainly because it just radiates this feeling of being a kid again. It’s nostalgia inducing in the best way, and the video is even more so.

The song discusses growing out of a childhood friendship, where Chance is referring to them doing different things with their lives when he says “we don’t do the same drugs no more”. He grew up in the 1990’s, so fittingly, the video concept is centered around some clear inspirations from that time. The video starts out a little grainy, with a magenta background and the song title written in gold letters displayed on the screen. The video stays lower quality while the camera moves to showcase Chance sitting at a piano playing the song, with a giant puppet resting on his shoulder. The puppet soon starts singing along with him, and the video progresses this way for a short while. All this time, it looks like something recorded straight out of the 90’s. After about two and a half minutes in, the puppet stops singing, the background turns a cool purple and it begins to snow. This is where we see Chance walk off the music video set, past the director and crew, all the way out the doors, past a recording studio and out of the building. But there are two interesting aspects to the latter half of this video: everyone is a puppet besides him and also the video quality appears modern once he leaves the set.

Seemingly quite simple on surface level, this music video actually goes much deeper than reminiscing on childhood friends. The way that it opens up by looking like a 90s children’s show and Chance singing with a puppet are alluding to the general theme of youth found in the song. The simple production technique of making the video looks older does the trick when it comes to the nostalgia factor, and the puppets specifically remind me of a popular kids show that was especially prevalent in the 1990s. Anyone remember Sesame Street? The entire first half of the video is pieced together by these subtle, yet extremely well known, feelings and inspirations. But once things start to go cold, as demonstrated by the snow starting to fall and the background turning a cooler color, we see Chance start to grow up as well. The video becomes clearer, demonstrating growth from child to adult, but something in him changes. We see him leaving without a single look of doubt or fear on his face and he’s breezing by all of these puppets who are hastily working, barely even noticing them as he leaves. This is possibly the most important part of the entire video. The reason everyone else is a puppet is because even though the puppets are supposed to represent youth, in this case they represent the opposite. These puppets are the boring adults, who go to work, do as their told, and who forgot what being youthful is actually like. But by Chance growing up without becoming a puppet, he shows us that we can be adults without losing the inner child in us.

Maybe I’m just overanalyzing at this point, but this video seems to demonstrates stages of life as past, present and future. When I listen to this, all I want is to wake up once again and be seven years old, even if it’s just for a day. The feeling of longing for something that you’ll never have again is insanely frustrating and that’s exactly why I find this video to be extremely captivating. It shows us that we are still able to carry those aspects of childhood with us, even though the times have changed, we’ve moved on and we’re not the same people we used to be. You might think you’ve lost touch with your younger self but it shows that you haven’t, and that’s a comforting thought. For our present day selves, this video shows how admirable growing older can be. It might seem a little dismal at first but underneath that is an eagerness for what’s ahead. And, most importantly, this also shows us that we can be who ever we want to be, and that we get to choose for ourselves what we want our life to look like.  

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