About two years ago Chicago native, Chancelor Bennett, was just an 18 year old suspended from high school because of weed usage. This would later on translate to a mixtape about this 10 day experience. This 10 Day mixtape thrust him into worldwide recognition for his zany punch-lines and analogies understood only by ones with the same pop-cultural background. His openness of his drug use and life struggles has brought together young and slightly older, as the maturation of topics and musical knowledge reveal a young man with an old soul.
The now 20 year old Bennett or Chance The Rapper, as he is known by his growing fan base, was influenced greatly by soul and jazz as a kid, which is evident in terms of the production aspect of his albums. The production brings together rich and soulful sounds, brought about with the use of brass instrumentation, jazz bands and samples. The Isley Brothers’ “Between the Sheets” sample used on Juke Juke (Produced by Caleb James) off 10 Day, is an excellent example of the incorporation of soul and hip hop, something Chance does effortlessly.
Also influenced greatly by another Chicago-native and world renowned rapper/producer, Kanye West, Chance is one to reference the rapper as his way of paying homage to the artist. This is evident in his rework of Kanye’s Ye’s Freshman Adjustment 2 intro to create his own intro, Good Ass Intro (ft. BJ The Chicago Kid) from his sophomore project Acid Rap. He is also one to mention Kanye in many of his songs, specifically on his first mixtape, 10 Day, which can be heard specifically on his song Hey Ma (ft. Lili K and Peter CottonTale), inspired by Kanye’s Hey Mama off Late Registration. Chance is cut off a cloth similar to the Black Hippy rapper, Schoolboy Q, even though the comparison truly cannot be made because of the vast difference in their musical styles. The “conscious” type rap is prevalent and obvious in both rappers but with a range of light-hearted songs to balance things out.
This new kid on the hip hop block is a breath of fresh air from the growing trend of pompous rappers that write music for twerking purposes only. His eccentric energy and the high-pitched trademark “nah, nah, nah” immediately distinguishes him from the rest. The singing-rap type style is not unique to him, but he brings it up a notch by staying clear of auto-tune (If you unfamiliar, refer to Lil’ Wayne’s music). With upbeat reggae inspired Favorite Song (ft. Childish Gambino) and soulful, almost-ballad-like songs such as Lost (ft. Noname Gypsy), from Acid Rap, Chance The Rapper almost flaunts his musical range. His distinct and fresh music makes him a sort of poster boy for new rap and as rapper J Cole states, Chance is one of the few rappers “saving hip-hop”.