The Grammys and Chance the Rapper by James Perry
My African American History teacher asked me a very good question yesterday and I couldn’t wait to respond. Class started with the usual warm up, introduction to the lesson and the goals for the class when he said “So I know I’m a little old but I’m a hip-hop head myself, and I want to know who is Chance the Rapper and what is the hype about his music?” Now I’m not a super fan but BOY I could not wait to answer this question!
I had to go all the way back to showing him his earliest work BEFORE 10 Day showing the videos of him rapping as well as his “Lost Files EP” with other Chicago artists. His reaction to what he heard was surprising because he wasn’t impressed! The only thing he said was that Chance reminded him a little of Outkast with his rap style and beat selection. I was determined to get more of a reaction out of my teacher. I then showed him his Acid Rap mix tape and his music video for the song “Brain Cells”. Now, a lot of teens in my age group don’t like Chance because of his commercial status.
The interesting thing that people don’t see is that his fan base came specifically from college tours, selling merchandise and using Sound cloud to push his SAVEMONEY collective with artists like Vic Mensa, Alex Wiley and Mick Jenkins, all of which are friends of Chance and have helped pave the way for Chicago artists to connect on music have it be based on friendship instead of what their “label” may want from them.
Not only is Chance known for his quick come up and success, he also managed to build riches for himself while remaining independent. These were all things I had to explain to my teacher while he was watching these videos and listening to his songs. Even after everything I told him he still wasn’t impressed. At this point he was telling me that I may as well give up because he doesn’t see him changing his mind on it. I had one more shot so I showed him his newest project “Coloring Book”. This project seemed to catch his ear because of the more mature material that families can listen to instead of teenagers. With features from artists like Kirk Franklin and multiple songs using Chicago’s Church choir. It seemed like this project caught a lot more attention because of the content. It was more expectable to play this project for social events, as an upbringing to the people. Still keeping to his original sound with beats that make you want to move as it takes you on a journey while he enlists superstars Lil Wayne, Kanye West, Future and many more. My teacher was REALLY interested when I showed him his iconic Grammy performance for the 51st Grammy awards. He did an amazing arrangement of “How Great/All We Got” and it blew his mind away!
I was really impressed with the performance personally so it was great that I was able to share that moment with my teacher who doubted his music. The icing on the cake for me? Showing him that he won Best Rap Performance, Best Rap Song and Best New Artist. He even announced that he is coming to Pittsburgh PA on May 20th!
by James Perry