The recently released mixtape Coloring Book by Chance The Rapper features many current day influential artists such as Kanye West and Young Thug, while putting a gospel twist on the rap genre. Being born in West Chatham, Chance The Rapper experienced firsthand the crime that was rooted in the heart of Chicago. Disliking the lifestyles of those around him he decided to attack the violence ingrained in Chicago’s culture.
Chancelor Bennett, 23, grew up in a middle class household in which his early ambitions to be a rapper flourished. Influenced and inspired by Lil’ Wayne and Kanye West he began to follow in their steps. Kanye, being straight out of Chicago, resonated with Chance and gave him the motivation he needed to pursue this path. After he became involved in various drugs, a school suspension pushed him to produce his first project titled, 10 Day, kicking off his career.
Pictured Below: Chancelor Bennett’s High School.
Coloring Book released on May 13th, 2016 featured many tracks focused on a positive message rather than the sensationalizing of violence prevalent in modern hip hop. Chance incorporates beliefs from religion and applies them to his urban lifestyle. Many prior works by Chance have been influenced by his obsession with drugs and addiction. But after becoming a father he emphasized the importance of being a role model in his community. As a common message throughout this mixtape he stresses the desire for his daughter, Kinsley Bennett, to grow up in a safer environment.
Tracklist for Coloring Book
1. All We Got (feat. Kanye West & Chicago Children’s Choir)
2. No Problem (feat. 2 Chainz and Lil Wayne)
3. Summer Friends (feat. Jeremiah & Francis & The Lights)
4. D.R.A.M Sings Special
6. Same Drugs
7. Mixtape (feat. Young Thug & Lil Yachty)
8. Angels (feat. Saba)
9. Juke Jam (feat. Justin Bieber & Towkio)
10. All Night (feat. Knox Fortune)
11. How Great (feat. Jay Electronica & My cousin Nicole)
12. Smoke Break (feat. Future)
13. Finish Line / Drown (feat. T-Pain, Kirk Franklin, Eryn Allen Kane & Noname)
14. Blessings (Reprise)
Leading off with All We Got (Feat. Kanye West & Chicago Children’s Choir) Chance delves deep into his beliefs and the love he has for his community. In Summer Friends(feat. Jeremiah & Francis & The Lights) Chance discusses the memories of his close knit neighborhood and the things he misses the most from his childhood. He claims “Summer friends don’t stay” alluding to the murder rate in Chicago spiking during the summer, proposing a dark contrast to a normally uplifting theme as he would lose his friends to gang violence. Blessing (Reprise) extricates antiquated biblical allusions and puts them in a clever comparison to everyday life. Angels(feat. Saba), previously released as a single, explores Chance’s drive to move his city forward. He also juxtaposes himself to Alexander the Great in that they both strive to provide the best for their people.
One of the most admirable principles of Chance the Rapper is his continued support of the next generation. Setting up open-mic sessions and using his social influence to create positive movements and healthy outlets for the youth of Chicago, he further reinforces his dream of restoring the city. Trending the hashtag #SaveChicago Chance accomplished the miraculous feat of preventing shootings for over 42 hours. An achievement that may seem small in the grand scheme of things proved that if enough people cared Chicago could be a safer place for everyone. He also promotes positivity to his peers and successfully reforms other Chicago based groups from self-destructive images.
Being an independent artist allows him to be able to collaborate with many people and further spread his message. Unlike many celebrities that donate money or create fundraisers Chance goes directly back to the community and personally influences the people to make a change, a mark of a true leader. Chance the Rapper is a visionary who tries his best to change the world through the words in his songs and the overall message of his music, ultimately he wants the world to be a better place, something that other artists should also strive to do.