Wu With Words - Sunday Candy: Sweet and Sacred

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Sunday Candy: Sweet and Sacred

By Allan Wu | 13 Jun 2018

Sunday Candy

Donnie Trumpet & the Social Experiment

[Verse 1: Chance the Rapper]
She can say in her voice, in her way that she love me
With her eyes, with her smile, with her belt, with her hands, with her money
I am the thesis of her prayers
Her nieces and her nephews are just pieces of the layers
Only ones she love as much as me is Jesus Christ and Taylor
I got a feature so I'm singing for my grandma
You singing too, but your grandma ain't my grandma
Mine's is handmade, pan-fried, sun-dried
Southside, and beat the devil by a landslide
Praying with her hands tight, president of my fan club, Santa
Something told me I should bring my butt to church

[Hook: Jamila Woods]
You gotta move it slowly
Take and eat my body like it's holy
I've been waiting for you for the whole week
I've been praying for you, you're my Sunday candy
You gotta move slowly
Take and eat my body like it's holy
I've been waiting for you for this whole week
I've been praying for you, you're my Sunday candy

[Bridge: Jamila Woods]
Come on in this house, cause it's gonna rain
Rain down Zion, it's gonna rain
You better come on in this house, cause it's gonna rain
Rain down Zion, it's gonna rain

[Verse 2: Chance the Rapper]
I come to church for the candy, your peppermints is the truth
I'm pessimistic on Monday if I had tweaked and missed you
You look so good with that hat on, had to match with the shoes
Came and dressed in the satin, I came and sat in your pew
I come to Christmas for dinner, fifty rolls on my plate
Hella holes in my stocking holding your pockets in place
I like my love with a budget, I like my hugs with a scent
You smell like light, gas, water, electricity, rent
You sound like why the gospel choir got so tired
Singin' his praises daily basis so I gotta try it
You're my dreamcatcher, dream team, team captain
Matter fact, I ain't seen you in a minute let me take my butt to church


 [Bridge: Jamila Woods]
You better come on in this house, cause it's gonna rain
Rain down Zion, it's gonna rain
You better come on in this house, cause it's gonna rain
Rain down Zion, it's gonna rain


[Hook: Jamila Woods]
You gotta move it slowly
Take and eat my body like it's holy
I've been waiting for you for the whole week
I've been praying for you, you're my Sunday candy
You gotta move slowly
Take and eat my body like it's holy
I've been waiting for you for this whole week
I've been praying for you, you're my Sunday candy
Slowly
Take and eat my body like it's holy
I've been waiting for you for the whole week
I've been praying for you, you're my Sunday candy


[Bridge: Jamila Woods and Others]
Come on in this house, cause it's gonna rain
Rain down Zion, it's gonna rain
You better come on in this house, cause it's gonna rain
Rain down Zion, it's gonna rain


Donnie Trumpet & The Social Experiment’s Sunday Candy, written by Chance the Rapper, begins with clean and evenly cut piano chords, untempered and untainted by vocals or other instruments. These chords are subsequently joined by Chance’s intro, trap snares, and a second melody played on trumpet — all in that order. The blend of musical ingredients is more lasagna than spaghetti: a conscientious stacking of constituents and flavors. The upbeat intro is followed by Jamila Woods’ hook, which is subtly coated by church organs and background gospel vocals, and adorned by drums and a brass ensemble. After permutated repetitions of these parts, the finale begins: a hodgepodge of drums and church choir in what seems more like a sloven heaping rather than a careful interweaving of Chance’s and Woods’ parts, which coalesces into a single reverberating snare hit and then ultimate silence. In this way, Sunday Candy’s instrumental narrative serves as a metaphor for understanding its underlying message: listen once and it may seem straightforward, listen closely and it’s suddenly more complex and confusing, only for everything to come together for a powerful yet simple message. 


Laced together with strands of Chance’s renewed Christian faith, his grandma, and sexual undertones, Sunday Candy calls for a return to a proper kind of human love. Woods’ hook is beautiful, but potentially confusing. Who is the subject and to whom are they addressing? Chance and his grandma? Or the other way around: Chance’s grandma and her grandson Chance? Could it be a dialogue between God and Chance? Or a conversation between two lovers? While some relationships are more intuitively apparent than others, read the hook from the perspective of each pairing and note how they all fit and rather smoothly as well. The ambiguity of the subject and object shouldn’t hinder us; instead, this ambiguity should be embraced and serves as a powerful instrument for delivering the piece’s message about love because here’s the kicker — who the messenger and the recipient are don’t matter. Whether expressed through a passionate relationship between two lovers, a virtuous deep affection between grandma and grandson, or a faith-based love uniting God and creation, Sunday Candy is about proper love. Each of these relationship will be explored below and not how they’ll reinforce, each with a slightly different flavor, what Sunday Candy and proper love are.

Let’s view Woods’ hook as a dialogue between two lovers, given the evident sexual undertones of her hook: 


You gotta move it slowly
Take and eat my body like it’s holy.

These two lovers have waited for each other for a whole week — from Sunday to Sunday, the most sacred day of the week in Christianity, a day of worship and rest. Like Sunday, the love between these two lovers is holy. They join one another in conversation and implore each other to “move it slowly” and treat their body “like it’s holy,” capturing the deferential and sacred nature of this love. They serve as the “Sunday candy” to one another. Candy straddles a particularly interesting space as a food item, similar to a dessert in terms of sweetness, yet not formal nor sizable enough to sit at the bottom of a five-course meal, precariously levitating between nothingness and overbearing sweetness. Candy is candy because it’s sweet yet unimposing, memorable yet infrequent, joy-inducing yet not excessive. If you had it everyday, what good is candy? In many ways, it is just enough — in size, in sweetness, in frequency. It is perfect. What Sunday Candy stands for is embodied by the love between these lovers — a perfect kind of love, sweet and sacred. 

We can also view Woods’ hook as a continuation of Chance’s ode to his grandmother. Chance has nothing but affection for his grandmother’s affection towards him:

I am the thesis of her prayers
Praying with her hands tight, president of my fan club, Santa

In his adulthood, Chance expresses his fondness for his grandmother — “I got a feature so I’m singing for my grandma” — as a natural reciprocation of her affection, her prayers, her love in his childhood. So while Chance’s “Sunday candy” is his grandmother (in fact, a younger Chance went to church quite literally for his grandmother’s Sunday candy: “your peppermints is the truth”), his grandmother’s “Sunday candy” is Chance. We can read the hook as his grandmother’s words to Chance: that she’s “been waiting for . . . [him] this whole week,” that she’s been “praying for . . . [him],” that Chance is her Sunday candy. So while his grandmother was fond enough of Chance to turn him into “the thesis of her prayers,” to be the “president of . . . [his] fan club,” Chance was also a subject proper to be the thesis, to be the focal point of his grandmother’s love and prayers. Despite the reversal of roles and the passing of time, Sunday candy remains. Just as there will always be another Sunday and the same candy is sweet to you and me, Sunday candy is consistent. This captures the cyclical, timeless, and constant nature of genuine love.


Given the influence of gospel music and his faith on his music — seen in his third mixtape Coloring Book and in the musical style of this single — it doesn’t make much sense to view Sunday Candy without the perspective of Chance’s rekindled Christian faith and relationship with God, which he has attributed to his grandmother and hints at with “Something told me I should bring my butt to church.” Woods’ hook evokes imagery of the Communion, a Christian rite where bread and wine are consumed as the body and blood of Christ:


Take and eat my body like it’s holy.”

It’s almost as if God speaks directly to Chance here. Sunday Candy captures Chance’s realization of God’s patient waiting — “been waiting for you for the whole week” — for his return to his faith despite his absence — “that I ain’t see you in a minute.” So while we can read Chance’s grandma as the one praying for him throughout the piece, we can just as easily read God as the one praying for Chance. Chance’s faith-based experience arguably reintroduces a common Christian teaching — the love and humanity of God — but also adds a dimension to the love Sunday Candy is calls for — one that is unfalteringly patient and expects nothing in return.


Lastly and laced with religious imagery of its own, the bridge:

Come on in this house, cause it's gonna rain
Rain down Zion, it's gonna rain

In Genesis, Noah’s Ark — a metaphorical representation of the church, or God’s house — allows Noah and his family to escape the flood sent by God to cleanse the Earth of the unrighteous and the perverse. Sunday Candy invites the listener to the house, to escape the rain, and instead rest in Zion — a synonym for Jerusalem, an allegory for the Church. Sunday Candy serves as the recipe for love at its finest — a synthesis of both the reverent, the hallowed nature of a Sunday with the sweetness, the preciousness of candy — and possibly provides an escape from the world and its rain — the forced narratives of pop culture romance, the pervasiveness of insincere and shallow love, the lack of love for those different. 


While not as introspective or serious as Chance’s acclaimed mixtape Acid Rap, Sunday Candy is every bit as everyday, relatable, and dare I say, complex. We are all singing too, but just as your grandma isn’t Chance’s grandma, Sunday Candy’s kind of love isn’t the kind of love you’re used to, but maybe it should be.