About Chance the Rapper
Chance the Rapper was born Chancelor Jonathan Bennett in Chicago, Illinois on April 16, 1993. Son to Ken Williams-Bennett, an aide to the late Chicago mayor Harold Washington and then-Senator Barack Obama, and Lisa Bennett, who worked for the Illinois Attorney General, Chance grew up in an environment surrounded by music, his early influences being Michael Jackson, Billie Holiday, Sam Cooke, jazz and gospel.
Inspired by Kanye West's album The College Dropout, the first rap album he had ever heard, he began rapping in the sixth grade at his cousin's studio. While attending Jones College Prep High School, in his freshman year, Bennett and a friend formed the hip-hop duo Instrumentality. It was around this time that he began performing at the YOUmedia Lyricist Loft at Chicago's Harold Washington Library, and had the chance to meet then-Chicago Mayor, Richard M. Daley, upon coming second place in a local songwriting contest.
For the majority of his junior year and some of his senior year, Chance worked on his debut music project.
2011-2012: Career beginnings and 10 Day
During his senior year in early-2011, Chance's debut project came to fruition during a 10-day suspension for possession of marijuana. The resulting project was the mixtape 10 Day, which was released on April 3, 2012. In February, just before the mixtape was released, Complex magazine named him as one of "10 New Chicago Rappers to Watch Out For". 10 Day garnered a huge amount of interest for Chance, receiving critical acclaim and gaining a mention in Forbes magazine's Cheap Tunes column.
2012-2015: Acid Rap and The Social Experiment
Childish Gambino featured Chance on the track "They Don't Like Me" from his sixth mixtape, Royalty, in July 2012, and later invited Chance to open for him on his debut North American tour.
In April 2013, Acid Rap, his second mixtape, was released. The mixtape featured guest appearances from Twista, Vic Mensa, Saba, BJ the Chicago Kid, Action Bronson, Childish Gambino and Ab-Soul and was, again, critically acclaimed, receiving a nomination for Best Mixtape at the 2013 BET Hip Hop Awards.
The following month, alongside fellow American rappers including Mac Miller, Pharrell Williams and Schoolboy Q, Chance was featured in a commercial for MySpace's relaunch.
In July, due to a significant number of downloads, Acid Rap charted on the Billboard Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums chart, and in August, Chance appeared at the Chicago music festival Lollapalooza.
By year's end, Acid Rap had appeared on several Best Albums of 2013 lists, including Rolling Stone (26th), Pitchfork (12th) and Complex (4th), as well as being listed as one of NPR Music's 50 Favorite Albums of 2013.
In May 2014, XXL included Chance in their annual freshman class, alongside Isaiah Rashad, Ty Dolla $ign, Rich Homie Quan, Vic Mensa, August Alsina, Troy Ave, Kevin Gates, Lil Bibby, Jon Connor, Lil Durk and Jarren Benton.
That November, he was awarded Chicago's "Outstanding Youth of the Year Award" by Mayor Rahm Emanuel.
January of the following year saw him listed at number 7 on the "Forbes 30 Under 30" 2015 music list.
As part of his band, The Social Experiment, Chance released the album Surf in May 2015 to universal acclaim. The following month, he appeared at Bonnaroo Music Festival, both in the superjam concert collection and a guest performer with fellow rapper Kendrick Lamar, sharing the stage with Earth, Wind & Fire.
August 2015 saw the release of Free (Based Freestyles Mixtape), a collaborative mixtape with Lil B, and in October he released a video for the song "Family Matters".
2016-present: Coloring Book and The Big Day
2016 brought the opportunity for Chance to work with his hero, Kanye West, on West's album The Life of Pablo, where he co-wrote and appeared on several tracks, including "Ultralight Beam", "Father Stretch My Hands Pt. 1", "Famous", "Feedback", and "Waves". He also appeared on "Need To Know" on Macklemore & Ryan Lewis's album This Unruly Mess I've Made, and on Skrillex's remix of Hundred Waters' "Show Me Love".
Coloring Book, Chance's third mixtape, was released in May 2016, debuting at number eight on the US Billboard 200 chart, becoming the first release to ever chart solely on streams. As with Acid Rap, Coloring Book met with universal acclaim on the review aggregator site Metacritic.
Later that year, he embarked on the Magnificent Coloring World Tour, and he also held the Magnificent Coloring Day Festival in Chicago – a one-day festival event that featured a line up including Lil Wayne, Young Thug, Skrillex, Tyler, the Creator and Lil Uzi Vert, and a surprise appearance from Kanye West.
In December, 2016, Chance turned down the opportunity to sign to West's GOOD Music label, due to his popularity as an independent artist.
The following January, he was nominated for seven Grammy Awards, winning three, including Best New Artist and Best Rap Album.
In July 2017, he was nominated for the Emmy Award for Outstanding Original Music and Lyrics, alongside Kenan Thompson, Eli Brueggemann, and Will Stephen, for his song "Last Christmas", which appeared on Saturday Night Live.
2018 saw Chance feature on "Logout" from Saba's album Care for Me and "Best Life" from Cardi B's debut album Invasion of Privacy. That July, he also released four new songs, with another two releases in November: "My Own Thing" and "The Man Who Has Everything".
The Big Day, his critically-acclaimed debut studio album, was released in March 2019, debuting at number two on the Billboard 200.