With spring in the air, one usually thinks of the flowers and trees in bloom.…
Chancelor Bennett, also known by his stage name Chance the Rapper, was born and raised in the Southside of Chicago, Illinois. Growing up, his neighborhood was lively and tight-knit. This kind of community, full of familiar faces and people looking out for each other, greatly influenced the man Bennett would become. His upbringing and the success he would find in the music world, would give him the means to reach out his hand out to the community and help others in need.
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Chance the Rapper’s Musical Influences
When asked about his influences, Bennett always delves deep into the lyrical work of people like Kanye West and Eminem. He talks about the writing, the spoken word, and how important that is to the success of these artists. The power of the words in these songs is what really reached Bennett, what made listening to their music feel like they shared a common journey. It was as if they were retelling him his own story of feeling different and struggling in school. Writing was the tool that would help Chance the Rapper emerge as a rising contemporary artist in his own right. He began writing raps while he was still in elementary school, and it took just one visit to his cousin’s recording studio for Bennett to solidify his dream of becoming a rapper.
As Bennett grew older, his interests became more diverse and his musical style began to take shape. He began to incorporate gospel and jazz into his raps, and while in high school, he learned to play the violin, the sax and the piano, deepening his well of knowledge and inspiration. By the time he was a senior, Bennett realized he wasn’t sure where his life would go. He knew academics were not for him and struggled all through high school. Music was the one thing that brought him joy when he thought about the future, but even that had stagnated, and he had stopped writing new music. When he was forced to go to his father’s work for an extended week, he had nothing better to do than sit on his computer and try to come up with new material. That forced separation from all other distractions was actually a blessing, and Bennett ended up writing what would become his first mixtape over this 10-day period. When he released 10 Day, it was a great success locally and began to gain traction when several media outlets favorably reviewed it. Bennett quickly began working on his second mixtape, motivated by the popularity of his first. His career had taken off.
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My mom and dad knew each other for 6 months before they got married and 29 years later today THEY’RE STILL MARRIED. They ran a well known beauty salon in Hyde Park together, Elected the first black president together but more importantly than anything they poured all their love and energy into protecting and building future generations through family. These are the biggest inspirations out here. I wanna be like yall HAPPY ANNIVERSARY AND YOU KNO WHAT THEY SAY IF IT AINT BROKE DONT FIX IT
Chancelor Bennett & the Grammys
At the 2017 Grammys, Chance the Rapper walked away with 3 awards, including Best New Artist and Best Rap Album. In the highly competitive world of rap, this was a staggering feat. Bennet had achieved this through his constant dedication to learning from those around him and crafting his own style. In one of his songs, Bennett included a recorded message from his father in which he tells Bennett how proud he is of his accomplishments. When Bennett began to use his success and funds to give back to the community, his father had even more reason to be proud of the man Bennet had become.
Whether it was partnering with the Chicago Public Library to hold open-mic nights for aspiring artists or launching the first Teens In the Park event, Bennett sought to provide a free, safe space for youths to experience and participate in the arts. In 2016, he took his community work further by founding a nonprofit called SocialWorks. Among their projects, SocialWorks gives out coats to the homeless during winter, funds after-school programs and coding classes, and provides Chicago Public Schools with funding for new arts and literature programs. Bennett also incorporated the open mic events to SocialWorks, hoping to help foster new generations of artists and guide them to the future that awaits them. The memory of his tight-knit neighborhood stuck with him throughout his life, and in his adulthood, he now strives to bring that sense of community to Chicago and beyond.