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Chance the Rapper

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Chance the Rapper
Chance The Rapper 2013.jpg
Chance the Rapper performing live in November 2013.
Background information
Birth name Chancelor Johnathan Bennett
Also known as Chano[1]
Born (1993-04-16) April 16, 1993 (age 23)[2]
Chicago, Illinois, U.S.
Genres Hip hop
Occupation(s)
  • Rapper
  • singer
  • songwriter
Instruments Vocals
Years active 2011–present
Associated acts
Website chanceraps.com

Chancelor Johnathan Bennett (born April 16, 1993), known professionally as Chance the Rapper, is an American hip hop recording artist from the West Chatham neighborhood of Chicago, Illinois.[3] In 2013, he began to gain recognition following the release of his second mixtape, Acid Rap.[4] Apart from his solo career, he is also a member of the Chicago collective Save Money (along with frequent collaborator Vic Mensa), and has worked as the lead vocalist for the band The Social Experiment. They released the widely lauded album Surf in May 2015.

In May 2016, Bennett released the mixtape Coloring Book to further critical acclaim. This is Bennett's third mixtape, which has received three Grammy nominations, including Best Rap Album. Coloring Book was the first streaming-only album to ever receive a Grammy nomination.[5]

Early life

Chance the Rapper grew up in the middle-class neighborhood of West Chatham on Chicago's South Side. His younger brother, Taylor Bennett, is also a Chicago rapper.[6] His father, Ken Williams-Bennett, was an aide to former Chicago mayor Harold Washington and worked for then-Senator Barack Obama. Williams-Bennett, who is now a deputy chief of staff to Mayor Rahm Emanuel, dreamed that his son might one day hold office.[7] In his freshman year at Jones College Prep High School, Chance formed the hip-hop duo Instrumentality with a friend.[8] Many of Chance's earliest performances took place at the YOUmedia Lyricist Loft at Harold Washington Library in Chicago.[9] He mentioned in an interview that fellow Chicago native Kanye West's 2004 debut album The College Dropout was the first hip-hop album that he ever purchased and listened to, previously being into soul and jazz.[10]

At Jones College Prep High School, some of his teachers ridiculed his aspirations to become a musician.[11] Following a 10-day suspension in early 2011 during his senior year for possessing marijuana on campus,[12] Bennett recorded his first full-length project, a mixtape titled 10 Day (also known as #10Day).[11][13][14] In December 2011, he released a song titled "Windows", and publicly announced his 10 Day project.[15] In February 2012, Bennett was highlighted as one of Complex magazine's "10 New Chicago Rappers to Watch Out For."[16] Bennett says he spent "about eight months recording, writing and making connections off of the hunger to put out something."[13] Bennett released the mixtape on April 3, 2012 and it has since been downloaded over 300,000 times via Datpiff.[13][17] The mixtape was well received locally and helped Bennett make connections with producers such as Chuck Inglish, Kenny Jame$, and Blended Babies.[13] The mixtape grabbed the attention of Forbes magazine, which featured it in the publication's Cheap Tunes column.[18] Prior to writing and recording 10 Day, Chance The Rapper recorded the mixtape "Good Enough" and "The Back to School Pack EP."

Career

2012-15: Acid Rap and The Social Experiment

In July 2012, Bennett appeared on American rapper Childish Gambino's sixth mixtape, Royalty, on the track "They Don't Like Me". Gambino asked Bennett to join his 2012 concert tour of North America as his opening act.[13][19][20] Chance released his second mixtape, Acid Rap, on April 30, 2013 [21] on DatPiff. Since then, it has been downloaded over 1 million times.[22] The mixtape features guest appearances from Twista, Vic Mensa, Saba, BJ the Chicago Kid, Action Bronson, Childish Gambino, and Ab-Soul.[23] Acid Rap was strongly praised by music critics and fans alike.[24] At Metacritic, the mixtape received an average score of 86, based on 21 critics, which indicates "universal acclaim."[25] It was also nominated for Best Mixtape at the 2013 BET Hip Hop Awards.[26]

On May 6, 2013, after being featured as the hidden track on Acid Rap, a song titled "Paranoia," produced by Nosaj Thing, was released as a contribution to Yours Truly and Adidas originals "Songs from Scratch" series.[27] In June 2013, Bennett was featured in a commercial for MySpace as part of their relaunch, alongside fellow American rappers Mac Miller, Pharrell, and Schoolboy Q, among others.[28] In early July 2013, Acid Rap debuted at number 63 on the Billboard Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums due to downloads on iTunes and Amazon.[29] In August 2013, Bennett performed at the Chicago music festival Lollapalooza.[30] Acid Rap was listed on multiple 50 best albums of 2013 lists, including 26th for Rolling Stone,[31] 12th on Pitchfork's list,[32] and ranked 4th by Complex.[33] It was also listed as one of NPR Music's 50 Favorite Albums Of 2013.[34] Chance embarked on his Social Experiment Tour, in Champaign, Illinois on October 25, 2013, lasting until December 19, 2013.[35] He was also a featured artist on Childish Gambino's album, Because the Internet, which was released on December 6, 2013.

Chance The Rapper performing in 2014.

In March 2014, Bennett appeared in a shoppable online video for Dockers, promoting the brand's spring line, in which Bennett talks his style, love for creating music, and how it feels to live in Los Angeles.[36][37][38] On May 5, 2014, XXL revealed Bennett was included in their annual freshman class, alongside fellow up-and-comers Isaiah Rashad, Ty Dolla $ign, Rich Homie Quan, Vic Mensa, August Alsina, Troy Ave, Kevin Gates, Lil Bibby, Jon Connor, Lil Durk and Jarren Benton.[39] During Fall 2014, Bennett and other artists participated in Verge Campus tour.[40] In November 2014, Bennett was presented Chicago's "Outstanding Youth of the Year Award" by Mayor Rahm Emanuel.[41]

In January 2015, Bennett was listed #7 on the "Forbes 30 Under 30" 2015 music list.[42] In March 2015, Bennett released a short film called Mr. Happy directed by Colin Tilley. Mr. Happy centers around the main character, Victor, who is struggling with depression and attempting to commit suicide. After many failed attempts to kill himself, he discovers Mr. Happy.[43] On April 30, 2015, Bennett gave a lecture at Harvard University's Hiphop Archive & Research Institute.[44] Just before midnight on May 28, 2015, Surf was released for free on the American iTunes store as an iTunes Exclusive. The album received high acclaim from music critics, receiving an aggregate score of 86 on review site Metacritic, which indicates "universal acclaim," based on 17 reviews.

In June 2015 Chance performed at the Bonaroo Music Festival in the superjam concert collection. He also made a guest performance with fellow rapper Kendrick Lamar on stage with Earth, Wind & Fire. On July 19, 2015, Chance the Rapper and Lil B announced that they recorded a collaborative mixtape. The two rappers released it on August 5 entitled "Free Based Freestyles Mixtape".[45] On October 13, 2015, Chance The Rapper released a video for a new song, titled "Family Matters", on his website. The song, which shares the same name as his fall 2015 tour with D.R.A.M., Metro Boomin, Towkio (and Hiatus Kaiyote on select dates), is a rework of the Kanye West song "Family Business" from his 2004 album The College Dropout.[46][47][48] A few days before this, a video surfaced online of Chance performing a new song live, ending the song by saying the words "third mixtape," leading many to believe the wait might be coming to a close for his long-awaited junior release.[49] On October 27, 2015, Chance The Rapper premiered a new song featuring Saba, titled "Angels", on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert. On December 12, 2015, Chance The Rapper performed on Saturday Night Live, where he premiered a new song titled "Somewhere in Paradise".[50]

2016–present: Coloring Book

In 2016, Chance co-wrote and appeared on Kanye West's album The Life of Pablo on the track "Ultralight Beam", and also co-wrote "Father Stretch My Hands Pt. 1", "Famous", "Feedback", and "Waves". According to West, the album release was delayed because Chance The Rapper wanted "Waves" to be on the album.[51][52] Chance was also featured on a track titled "Need To Know" from hip hop duo Macklemore & Ryan Lewis's album, This Unruly Mess I've Made. The following March, Chance was featured on Skrillex's remix of Hundred Waters' "Show Me Love".[53] On April 16, 2016, Chance and other musicians, including Alicia Keys, Busta Rhymes, Janelle Monáe, and J. Cole, met with President Obama at the White House to discuss the My Brother's Keeper Challenge initiative.[54]

On May 12, 2016, Chance's third mixtape, Coloring Book (promoted as Chance 3), was released, streaming exclusively on Apple Music.[55] In the first week, the mixtape was streamed over 57.3 million times, which was equivalent to 38,000 units sold, debuting at number 8 on the Billboard 200. It became the first release to chart solely on streams.[citation needed] The mixtape was met with widespread acclaim from music critics, receiving an average score of 90, based on 20 critics, which indicates "universal acclaim", from review aggregator site Metacritic. On August 16, 2016 Chance wrote the single "We the People" paired in a Nike commercial titled "Unlimited Together" a film directed by Hiro Murai the first of two commercials he featured in in 2016. The second was released October 4th for Nestle to promote the kit-kat bar in preparation for Halloween and starred chance in costume putting his own spin on the firms classic jingle. On September 15, 2016 Chance begins his Magnificent Coloring World Tour in San Diego.

On July 13, 2016, at the ESPY awards show along with Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, he performed a tribute song titled "I was a Rock" for the late Muhammad Ali.[56]

He announced the Magnificent Coloring Tour with an event called Magnificent Coloring Day Festival to Chicago's U.S. Cellular Field with the line up including Lil Wayne, Skrillex, and Lil Uzi Vert, and that would be the first ever music festival at U.S. Cellular Field on Chicago’s South Side and it happened on September 24, 2016.[57] He launched a campaign in conjunction with rapperradio.com to get his music on the radio on August 17, 2016.[58]

H&M solicited Chance the Rapper to be the face of their new campaign.[59] In 2016, he embarked on the Magnificent Coloring World Tour, but canceled the rest of his shows on the European leg due to personal reasons.[60]

Artistry

Chance has stated in interviews with XXL & Complex that Kanye West, James Brown, MC Hammer, Prince, Lupe Fiasco, Common, Lil Wayne, Esham, Eminem, Souls of Mischief and Freestyle Fellowship have all influenced him.[61] When asked about the gospel influences in his music, he also has stated that Kirk Franklin is one of his favorite artists, and his favorite composer.[44]

Activism

In November 2014, Chance was named Chicago's Outstanding Youth of the Year by Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel.[62][63] Chance has actively fought to combat gun violence in his hometown and in 2014, along with his father, promoted the "#SaveChicago" campaign. The campaign sought to stop gun violence over Memorial Day Weekend, and saw Chicago go 42 straight hours without a shooting.[64] Chance met with President Obama at the White House on April 16, 2016, to discuss My Brother's Keeper Challenge, an initiative of the United States Federal Government to promote intervention by civic leaders in the lives of young men of color to address their unique challenges and to promote racial justice, with other musicians, including Alicia Keys, Busta Rhymes, Janelle Monáe, J. Cole and others.[54] Chance started a Twitter campaign for May 23, 2016 using #May23 to stop gun violence for 42 hours.[65]

Personal life

In July 2015, Chance announced that he was expecting his first child with his girlfriend Kirsten, whom he began to date in 2013.[66][67] In September 2015, Kirsten gave birth to their daughter, Kinsley.[68][69]

Chance is a Christian, and refers to Jesus Christ in his songs.[70]

Discography

Mixtapes

Collaborations

Tours

  • Family Matters Tour (2015)
  • Magnificent Colouring World Tour (2016)

Awards and nominations

BET Hip Hop Awards

Year Recipient Category Result Ref.
2013 Acid Rap Best Mixtape Nominated [26]
2016 Himself Lyricist of the Year Nominated [71]
Best New Hip Hop Artist Won
Coloring Book Best Mixtape Won

Grammy Awards

Year Recipient Category Result Ref.
2017 Himself Best New Artist Pending [72]
"No Problem" (with Lil Wayne and 2 Chainz) Best Rap Performance Pending
Best Rap Song Pending
"Famous" (as songwriter) Pending
"Ultralight Beam" (with Kanye West, Kirk Franklin, The-Dream and Kelly Price) Pending
Best Rap/Sung Performance Pending
Coloring Book Best Rap Album Pending

MOBO Awards

Year Recipient Category Result Ref.
2016 Himself Best International Act Nominated [73]

MTV Video Music Awards

Year Recipient Category Result Ref.
2016 "Angels" (with Saba) Best Hip-Hop Video Nominated [74]

MTV Video Music Awards Japan

Year Recipient Category Result Ref.
2016 "Angels" (with Saba) Best Hip Hop Video Nominated [75]

Soul Train Music Awards

Year Recipient Category Result Ref.
2016 Himself Best New Artist Won [76]
"No Problem" (with Lil Wayne and 2 Chainz) Rhythm & Bars Award Nominated
Best Collaboration Nominated

Filmography

Television
Year Show Role
2013 The Eric Andre Show Himself
2013 The Arsenio Hall Show Himself
2014 Black Dynamite Bob Marley (voice)
2015 The Late Show with Stephen Colbert Himself
Saturday Night Live Himself
2016 The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon Himself
2016 The Ellen DeGeneres Show Himself
Short Films
2015 Mr. Happy Victor

References

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External links