1. Chance the Rapper - "Finish Line / Drown"
"And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us" - Hebrews 12:1
Despite the nearly universal acclaim Chance's sophomore effort, Coloring Book, has garnered for its seamless suture of bubblegum-trap and gospel music, the neo-sincere hymnal's most reverential cut has been unfortunately overshadowed by the more secular bombast of "No Problem" and "Mixtape".
"Finish Line / Drown" is an ambitious, fragmented meditation on the importance of perseverance. Angling their lyrical lens at the New Testament's repeated metaphorical references to footraces, Chance and fellow Top 10 list inductee Noname relay their way through a marathon's worth of life's trials - addiction, parenthood, loss - while keeping their sights set firmly on the paradise that is promised to postdate our earthly tribulation.
Pasted together with T-Pain's transhuman mastery of autotune and punctuated in with a spoken-word coda delivered by choir director Kirk Franklin, "Finish Line" proves to a be a double-decker sandwich that's tough to take a first bite into. Imposing as the track may seem, its 7 minutes of emotional fluctuation and church-organ swells digest quite easily washed down with the heartfelt positivity that each verse overflows with: Chance's with double-time exultation, Noname's with hushed conviction.
Hurtle toward the close of an arudous year, "Finish Line" blasting through your earbuds loudly enough to block out any distractions.
"I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith." - 2 Timothy 4:7