Chance the Rapper’s most recent album that has earned him an abundance of award nominations (and wins) does not even begin to show his true talents. Chance being underrated is an understatement, to say the least. This 23-year-old has been slowly taking over the rap industry since 2012 with his chart-topping mixtapes and collaborations; however, his success has not come without an extreme amount of work.
Chance’s career took off when he in high school, after he releasing his mixtape 10 Day. This album was his own introduction into the music world, encompassing details of his early life in Chicago, in which he did not always have it easy. These songs not only spoke about his childhood memories and some of his delinquent ways, but he also touched on some of the hardships he has faced. One song featured on 10 Day, called “Missing You,” was written about his friend Rodney, who was killed right in front of him. His adolescence caused him to strive to not only be proud of himself and make something of himself, but to also make those around him proud as well. This was the start of Chance using his talent to create music that contained lyrics with true meanings behind them.
Being suspended for 10 days his senior year due to possessing marijuana on campus (hence the name, 10 Day) may actually have been one of the best things that would happen to Chance. His mixtape began gaining a lot of people’s attention- one person in particular being Childish Gambino. The fellow rapper invited Chance to not only be featured on one of his mixtapes, (Royalty), but also wanted Chance to join him on tour. This helped moved the young artist along even more, and later that same year, he released his second mixtape, Acid Rap, in which he highlights even more troubles, including drug use. He continued to receive more recognition and work with more artists, gaining him credibility and causing him to continue climbing up in the world.
Chance’s early work focused a lot on the struggles of life, how to overcome obstacles, and how to progress as a person. As he continued to release singles that reflected such messages, he grew alongside his music. His latest album, Coloring Book, seemed to have shifted themes from his last two major projects. This album was centered mainly on his perspective on life, and featured religious views as well. The songs featured throughout this album carry uplifting lessons in which Chance hopes inspires his listeners to follow and believe in. He also touches on family life, and his positive thoughts and feelings towards both his daughter and the mother of his child. This album focuses on guiding listeners to color their life exactly how they wish to, just how they would do with a coloring book. The lively, spirited vibes that he created within this album shine through, and his passion for his music is shown as clear as ever. Coloring Book is all about self-growth, self-love, and living the happiest, most positive life one can live.
As if Chance’s music itself was not enough to have one hooked, there is one thing about him that stands out and helps shape him into the artist he is today: the fact that he refuses to sign with a record label. Quite rare for a successful artist such as himself, he has been working in this industry for the past 5 years and continues to be independent. Why? He has made the point to have his fans understand that he wants his music to stay genuine and authentic, without the messiness and headaches of the music industry getting in the way. He even talks about this within his music. In one of his newer singles, Mixtape, he addresses how people are losing respect of the creation of real music, and that this industry is too focused around politics- an awful, but true fact that more artists should be focused on changing.
It seems as if new rap artists are constantly being discovered and new music is being released, however there is something special about Chance’s lyrics and unique sound that stands out and sticks with you. His ability to use music to relay such powerful messages onto others is unreal. Chance’s recognition within the music world may have been under-appreciated in the past, however there is hope that with his recent meteoric rise, he will continue to be the influential, energetic artist that he is today. As Chance would say, music is all we got—and he is most definitely giving it all he’s got.