Chance started the same as everyone else. Born Chancelor Bennett (but you might know him as Chance or Chano) on April 16, 1993, he is a mere 21 years old. To put that into perspective, both David and I could have ridden the bus to school with Chance every day if we had lived in Chicago and gone to the same school. From a young age, he showed plenty of interest in music, but kept his taste strictly to soul and jazz. By the time he turned double-digits, however, a brand new artist came onto the scene in his hometown city—Kanye West. It was Kanye's first album, The College Dropout that marked the beginning of Chance's interest in rap.
In middle school, he participated in poetry programs at YOUmedia after begging the Lead Mentor, Mike Hawkins, to allow him to perform his rap songs instead of poetry. Later, Harold Washington Library put on a citywide contest with a simple topic: write a song for Chicago. Chano jumped on this opportunity, and submitted Beddy Bye. Although it was never officially released, Chance got the opportunity to perform the song for important Chi-Towners, including the mayor, after placing second in the contest.
However, every great mind has an Achilles heel. For Chance, the only issue he had with his rapping was remembering his own lyrics. After Hawkins insisted he would not be able to captivate crowds if he continued forgetting his songs, Chance never failed to finish a track. Not long after, he experienced another roadblock. But great minds make the best out of hard times—in early 2011, Chance was suspended from school for two school weeks, ten days.
He was walking into school one day when he remembered he had a blunt in his pocket. As he recalls it, he said, "swoop," and proceeded to walk out the door. He then walked a few blocks down the street and ran into his friends smoking in an alleyway. Chance took out his pot to smoke it, and next thing he knew, he was cuffed by a police officer and brought to the school administration.
This unfortunate suspension turned out to be the luckiest thing to happen to Bennett. Thankfully for us listeners, he spent the two weeks working hard on new songs, wasting no time. In December of 2011, Chano released Windows as a public announcement of his new project, titled 10Day.
10Day was released four months later, on April 3, 2012 on DatPiff. It has since been downloaded 323,755 times, on DatPiff alone. After the release of 10Day, Chano was featured on Childish Gambino's ROYALTY Mixtape, which debuted on Independence Day of 2012. Chance joined Gambino on tour the same summer.
Just over a year after 10Day, Acid Rap was released. It was Chance's second full-length piece and it blew 10Day out of the water in terms of downloads. Downloaded over 900,000 times on DatPiff, it became a DatPiff double-platinum tape.
It was after Acid Rap that Chance started to gather widespread acclaim as a rising star. In August 2013, he performed at Lollapalooza, and began his Social Experiment tour on October 25, ending on December 19. He continued to play shows for his adoring fans, and in June 2014 he played a fantastic set at Governor's Ball Musical Festival, where he debuted his masterful rendition of the Arthur theme David discussed earlier.
I should know - I was there, front and center. He rocked Gotham Tent for the full hour he was allotted and it was at this point that I knew he was going to explode even more than he had already. It was obvious: everyone loved him; he loved everyone; he worked hard; and he loooved to perform.
What's next for Chance? Well, he has a new mixtape looming with The Social Experiment and Donnie Trumpet, but as of now there is no official date set. All I have gathered is that Chance the Rapper, 21 years old, out of Chicago, will not disappoint.