The growth of Chance the Rapper
Chance the Rapper is growing. Physically.
I interviewed him in 2013. Chance had just turned 20 and his second mixtape, “Acid Rap,” was released for free on the internet. At the time, I was working at my college radio station in Madison. I’m 6’2” and stood a full two inches taller than Chance. When we met in the parking lot of 88Nine a few weeks ago, he and I stood eye-to-eye.
But Chance isn’t just growing physically. He’s growing as an artist.
After we first met, “Acid Rap” blew up, loved by critics and kids alike. Currently, it has more than a million downloads on datpiff.com, each song has millions of YouTube views, and vinyl bootlegs printed in German are selling for $30 a pop.
Chance has headlined Pitchfork Music Festival in his hometown of Chicago. He’s released an album, "Surf," with his group The Social Experiment. And he's about to release a third mixtape that could launch him into Kanye/Kendrick-level superstar status.
Chance says time between projects allows him to grow. The new project is an expression of that growth.
“There’s records that I was making for projects in high school. They were like six months apart from each other. So there was a growth, but not as much as the growth from the project that I made during high school, '10 Day,' and the year that I waited to make 'Acid Rap,' or the space in between 'Acid Rap' and now.
“I’m glad that I got that space and really got to work with who I wanted to work with." (I asked if Kanye would be on the new mixtape. His manager stepped in and said he couldn’t speak to that.) "And I got to grow in sound, and grow in acoustics, and even just rapping. I got a lot of ‘Grow Time.’”
Chance’s family is growing too. He recently became the father of a beautiful baby girl.
“It feels like the beginning of life. It feels like all the moments before, you were like in purgatory. Like you’re in the waiting room and it feels like you encapsulate or kind of just make that one part of your life that is before now.
“It’s a bullet point and it’s one solidified thing and everything else is new steps.”
The Social Experiment, the band Chance tours with/ is in, is also a part of his family and values. Chance says The Social Experiment is about family, teamwork, church, love and growth.
“These are the people that just want to write and we made a bunch of stuff together. Like this is the Freedom Riders, as corny as that sounds.”
It’s fun to sometimes just go crazy, you know what I’m saying?
And of course, there is rap. He is Chance the Rapper after all.
“Rap is like a peak, you know, black thing that I exude and that I’m good at doing, and I feel really confident in rap right now. And every literary device you can think of and you know, bouncing different flows that are just unknown of and new.”
And with all this growth and change, when I ask Chance, “What about the new mixtape is different from '10 Day' and 'Acid Rap?'” he responds, “Just me probably. I mean, I’m still Chance.”