How does a 23-year-old from Chicago, Illinois make it so big that he can afford to refuse to sign on to Kanye West’s record label?
07 February 2017

If you’ve jammed to Kanye’s Ultralight Beam and Famous, or wondered who in the hell this young kid performing alongside the likes of Childish Gambino and Kendrick Lamar was, then say hello to Chance the Rapper—the brain behind numerous musical masterpieces and incredible concert performances.



Chance, or Chancellor Bennett, began his musical journey as a high school student at Jones College Prep High School. Despite being mocked by his teachers and peers and being told he would go nowhere in the music industry, he published his first full-length mixtape titled 10 Day. The project was inspired by his 10-day suspension from high school for marijuana possession, and lead to Complex magazine repping him as one of 10 New Chicago Rappers to Watch Out For.



Chance then spent the next eight months “recording, writing, and making connections” so he could produce more music, which lead him on a whirlwind adventure that included rapping alongside Childish Gambino on his record Royalty, releasing his second mixtape Acid Rap, and being featured on Rolling Stone magazine.



Fame came quickly to budding Mr. Bennett, and his rise to popularity is one unparalleled by any other rapper his age. Perhaps his celebrity is even more iconic when we take into account how he refuses to sign onto any label because he disagrees with their principles. This is all symbolic of how his music is just different—while other rappers in the industry often rap about the generic things (you know, thick girls, fast cars, and dollar bills), Chance has a subtle Christian nuance in his music. It is positive, vibrant, and simply put, happy; something that is rarely produced in the current hip hop scene. His energy radiates through his upbeat rhythms and relatable lyrics, and allows listeners to truly feel his powerful zeal for life.



His latest album, Coloring Book, exudes that very youthful, and spirited vibe, even while tackling heavier topics like drug addiction, loss, and inner city issues. Growing up in Chicago was a tumultuous experience for Chance, and he relays that struggle in a way that allows his listeners to live them rather than just hear about them. His words are witty, young, and still, in some oxymoronic way, display a sense of maturity that we never really receive from mainstream rap.



So throw it back to when the hip hop was a form of black empowerment and activism through Chance the Rapper’s tracks, and relish the rare and very real honesty in his music. Catch him live at the GRAMMY Awards on 13 February!


Catch the GRAMMY Awards on Vh1 on 13 February 2017.  Tune-in at 5.30 AM for the red carpet (repeat 7 PM) and 7.30 AM for the award ceremony (repeat at 9 PM).