Every year or so, give or take, the ever jumpy areas of the internet which provide hip-hop's stomping grounds work themselves into a particularly ardent frenzy over the arrival of a newly anointed next big thing. Last year it was Kendrick, before that it was Rocky; now, seemingly rather suddenly, it's the turn of young Chicago MC Chance the Rapper. Judging by the astounding quality of Acid Rap, his free follow-up to the well received 10 Day mixtape, Chance is well aware of the precipitous position he's found himself in, and entirely determined to take full advantage of it.

In terms of those immediate predecessors, the only thing that Chance has in common with the brand naming, swagged out A$AP Rocky is his drug consumption, but many of the profiles and articles concerning him have pointed to Kendrick Lamar as a kind of spiritual forebear, and Acid Rap bears this out to an extent; it shares with good kid, M.A.A.D. City a commitment to musical depth, and Chance shares with Kendrick an at times rapid fire flow that he can stretch and toy with at will.

The pair share this, but Chance has none of the "gloomy paladin aura" that Kendrick possesses. That isn't to say that he shies away from addressing heavy issues; indeed, the stabbing to death of a close friend, (an event which Chance witnessed), weighs heavily at times over even the record's lighter moments, 'Chain Smoker', 'Acid Rain' and 'Cocoa Butter Kisses' are deeply personal, and the second half of "'usha Man' finds Chance stunningly addressing the ills of his home city with a palpably rising sense of urgency until it sounds like he simply wouldn't be able to try any harder. But even in these darker and more earnest moments, it's never difficult to sense the love of craft that went into Acid Rap's construction, and it's because of this that Acid Rap is, ultimately, a fundamentally joyful record.

While Kendrick's magnum opus was an appropriately classy and sober look at a less than ideal adolescent period, Acid Rap revels in its sense of fun, with Chance never afraid to drop squawks and laughs into his bars, rep how well he can both rap and consume intoxicants, or send out spiritually minded dispatches like "everybody's somebody's everything." It's this part of Chance's persona that allows him straddle lines that have not been as successfully straddled in quite some time. His sheer skills as a rapper and his frequent flashes of serious mindedness should appeal to any classicist, but his playfulness, relatability and knack with a pop-minded hook place him not a million miles away from neo-college rap dudes like Mac Miller, Casey Veggies and even Kid CuDi.

Don't take this comparison too seriously, though; as a rapper, Chance leaves guys like that in the dust. He has a remarkable way of treating his bars with a total elasticity, throwing out what should be unwieldy, clumsily stacked sets of words with abandon and somehow reeling them back in and harnessing them with complete control into something that is not only technically extremely impressive, but also feels totally natural. Sometimes, he has the confidence to let a small handful of words do all the rhythmic and melodic work, as in the first few seconds of 'Pusher Man', in which he playfully lets the track teeter on the edge of collapse before allowing his hyperactive tongue and the tracks exquisite, glittering keys bring everything together in an instant.

It's also tempting to point out Chance's good singing voice; you could say that he employs it frequently throughout Acid Rap, but it would perhaps be more accurate to say that what he mostly does on the tape is a halfway point between freewheeling spitting and a cigarette cracked croon. It's a singular style, (there's a reason that Action Bronson and Ab-Soul, both maestros in their own right, each briefly try it on for size during their guest spots), and one that's fitting on an album that is musically so lush and varied.

Much of the music Chance spits over is a deep, stumbling and swaggering update of classic soul, (which earned him well spotted comparisons to College Dropout era Kanye), but not much is off limits. Reverbed guitars crackle on the Childish Gambino assisted 'Favourite Song', ambience pervades the atmospheres of 'Acid Rain' and the latter half of 'Pusher Man', and even Chicago's own juke sounds bubble underneath the mixtape's glorious bookending intro and outro. To imply that hip-hop isn't usually "musical" is a risky and far more often than not erroneous manoeuvre, but regardless, Acid Rap is an unusually "musical" hip-hop record in the classic sense, often with the feel of a full live band backing Chance up.

So, fortunately, the hip-hop underground's current flag-bearer in the making done exactly what he should have done; asserted the validity of his position with a singular and rather special album length statement. Where he goes from here is anyone's guess, though surely guest spots and ubiquity will abound for a period. This moment, though, is Chance's, and he has seized it in a manner that should have any other bubbling rapper taking notes.