Nosaj Thing + Chance The Rapper — Cold Stares

Nosaj Thing is really good at what he does. Making impactful instrumental music is not easy, and the LA product is one of the best at it. But there’s just something special that happens when his work crosses paths with vocalists, especially rappers.

I first fell in love with Nosaj Thing via Kid Cudi’s seminal “Man On The Moon (The Anthem)”. It was wildly different, and it stood out. Since then, he’s teamed up with artists like Kendrick Lamar and Chance The Rapper, further solidifying his place as a prolific oddball hip-hop producer. His trademark skittering, twinkling production makes the perfect backdrop for introspective meanderings, which is why his second collaboration with Chance The Rapper works so flawlessly.

Originally surfacing last year in a version that wasn’t quite as off-kilter, the track appeared on Nosaj Thing’s Fated, and features Chance waxing poetic about a heroin addict confined to a hospital bed. There’s only one verse, but it’s a weighty one, exploring our character’s past, present, a future before finally resigning to, “He’s gonna die in hospital clothes.”

These two artists make such a formidable team because of their unique ability to paint a picture. When combined, listeners get a powerful image. The beat feels like something rattling around inside your head, trying to claw its way out. In between frantic percussion, Chance blankly states: “The devil whistles in his ear, out of tune.”

It’s a harrowing song.

For the outro, Chance breaks out his singing voice and adopts the perspective of our protagonist, longing for a way out of his hospital bed. “Bed, bed I rest in. Not my own,” Chance whines. “These covers make me itch.”

It’s a cautionary tale, further propped up by the brand new music video, which features interpretive dance, drones, and some wild CGI. These two are just too good together.