FernandaMorote, Staff Reporter
Chance the Rapper: you probably didn’t even know this name last year. This rapper has seen an explosion in popularity since the release of his third mixtape, “Coloring Book.” Since music has always been an integral part of Chance’s life, he has always dreamt of winning a Grammy. Here’s the catch: Chance is a strong believer of free art and has never charged anyone for his music, releasing three completely free, streaming mixtapes. Until this year, it was impossible for any artist to win a Grammy without putting an album on the market for consumer purchase. On Feb. 12, 2017, Chancelor Bennett, a young man from 79th Street in the urban city of Chicago, smashed every expectation of the impossible.
Born son of a politician, Chancelor Bennett was expected to follow his father and was ridiculed when he proclaimed his dream of becoming a rapper. He released his first mixtape, “10 Day,” a year after he was suspended from high school for 10 days due to illegal possession of marijuana on campus. Even at 18 years old, Chance the Rapper used rap as an outlet to express emotion and to make statements instead of bragging and “stunting” like other rappers. This mixtape had local success and placed him in Complex magazine’s “10 New Chicago Rappers to Watch Out For.”
During the time between the release of his first and second mixtape, Chance featured in “They Don’t Like Me,” a track on Childish Gambino’s sixth mixtape and joined him on his 2012 tour where he gained more popularity. His second mixtape, Acid Rap, was critically acclaimed on Metacritic, and he gained even more popularity. His greatest jump in his fanbase; however, occurred upon the release of Chance’s third mixtape, “Coloring Book,” which features famous artists including Kanye West, Francis and the Lights, Lil Wayne, 2 Chainz and Justin Bieber.
It was this mixtape’s popularity, content and performance which earned Chance the Rapper three Grammys this year. His mixtape won the prize, “Best Rap Album,” a controversial topic he discusses at length in “Coloring Book.”
Now, Chance is beginning to enter the political world, working with Chicago Governor Bruce Rauner to provide funding to Chicago Public Schools (CPS). He, along with Alicia Keys, Nicki Minaj, Rick Ross, Busta Rhymes, Pusha T, Common, Janelle Monáe, Ludacris, J. Cole, Wale and DJ Khaled, met with former President Barack Obama in April 2016 to discuss the My Brother’s Keeper Initiative, which has the purpose of “[connecting] young people to mentoring, support networks and the skills they need to find a good job or go to college and work their way into the middle class.”
Chance the Rapper’s fans admire him for his political efforts aside from his musical and lyrical genius, and they are looking forward to his many accomplishments to come.