Timeline of America’s Newest Hip-Hop Sensation: Chance the Rapper

photo via christianpost.com

Through his success of his past three projects “10 Day,”Acid Rap,” and 2017 Grammy award winning, “Coloring Book,” 23-year-old Chance The Rapper was just your ordinary kid from the south side of Chicago, IL.

It all began in West Chatham on 79th Street where Chancelor Jonathan Bennett grew up alongside his younger brother, Taylor Bennett. Chance had an upbringing that formed him to be a artistic, well-rounded individual. From impersonating Michael Jackson to writing poems and raps for open mic nights in Chicago, it was was destined for him to become the artist he is today.

However, minor setbacks come into play in order for a comeback to transpire.

10-Day Mix tape

His artistic upbringing and a “10 Day” free time due to a school suspension for mischievous marijuana-related motives gave him the ability to create a project that would forever be the stepping-stone to his successful hip-hop career. Attending Jones College Prep High School, he was often ridiculed for trying to follow his dreams, persuading him to partake in drug use and distribution. When suspended, young Chancelor recorded a mixtape titled “10 Day.” This project was released in February 2012 with over 300,000 downloads on popular mixtape website, DatPiff. The mixtape was also highlighted in Complex Magazine’s “10 New Chicago Rappers to Watch Out For.” The mixtape caught the attention from other media outlets such as Forbes magazine. Production on 10 Day varies from Chuchk Inglish, Blended babies, and Kenny Jame$.

Acid Rap

Full Acid Rap Mixtape

After the success of his freshman mixtape opening the doors for him to join the American tour of Childish Gambino as an opening act, Bennett began working on the mixtape that will elevate his career. “Acid Rap” is Bennett’s second mixtape, which was released on April 30th, 2013. This mixtape had various guest appearances from Twista, Vic Mensa, and Action Bronson, just to name a few. After being downloaded over one million times his music was strongly praised by various critics, nominated for a BET Hip-Hop Award, and charted the Billboard Top Hip-Hop/R&B albums.

Exposure & Building brands

After his success with Acid Rap, Bennett was able to participate in a commercial for Myspace relaunch. He performed at Lollapalooza and toured with Donnie Trumpet and the Social Experiment. In 2014, Bennett was featured in the XXL’s Freshmen Class alongside Lil Durk, Ty Dolla $ign, Vic Mensa, and more. In response to his positive exposure Mayor Rahm Emanuel awarded Bennett “Chicago’s Youth of the Year Award.” In 2015, he was listed #7 on Forbes 30 under 30. Remarkably, Bennett was also invited to Harvard University to give a lecture at the Hip Hop archive & research institute.

Chance The Rapper (In LA Hat listed on the 2014 XXL Freshmen Class) photo via ocdn.hiphopdx.com

Acting, Television, & Surf

After tons of exposure and various endorsements, Chance had the opportunity to take up something new, acting. He was featured in a short film called “Mr. Happy” directed by Colin Tilley centering around a character named Victor who is depressed and pays an online website to end his life. He also made a guest appearance on the Arsenio Hall show, Eric Andre Show, and Black Dynamite as Bob Marley.

Mr. Happy — Chance The Rapper’s debut

On May 28th, 2015, Bennett released a free project titled “Surf” collaborating with Donnie Trumpet and the Social Experiment. The album had guest appearances by Busta Rhymes, Big Sean, and Erykah Badu. The project was highly acclaimed and received positive reviews, giving Chance the opportunity to perform at more festivals and eventually teaming up with Kendrick Lamar and Earth, Wind, & Fire on stage for a epic performance.

Surf (Full Album)

More projects and the evolution of Coloring Book

After the release of Surf, Bennett stayed in the studio to release the Free Based Freestyles tape in collaboration with California rapper Lil B. He began another tour with D.R.A.M., Metro Boomin, and Towkio. After the tour he was back in the studio with Kanye West assisting with The Life of Pablo (specifically the songs “Waves” and “Famous”) and developing his gospel themed album Coloring Book.

(Family Matters Tour Poster) http://pitchfork-cdn.s3.amazonaws.com/content/ChanceGuests.jpg

The birth of his daughter & Coloring Book

In July of 2015, Chance announced that he and his longtime girlfriend were expecting their first child. She was born in September of 2015, serving as the main inspiration for his Grammy award winning album Coloring Book.

Instagram Screen Shot from the announcement of his daughter

Coloring Book is produced by Chance and the Social Experiment . He collaborated with Kanye West, Young Thug, Lil Yachty, Justin Bieber and Kirk Franklin. The Chicago Children’s Choir has a feature on the project as well. The project was made exclusively for Apple Music for the first two weeks and reached #8 on the Billboard 200, becoming one of the first-ever exclusive stream albums to chart.

Post Coloring Book, Magnificent Coloring Day, and Grammy Nomination

Due to the major success of Coloring Book, Chance held a major festival in Chicago titled the “Magnificent Coloring Day” in September of 2016. This festival featured appearances from Kanye West, Common, Lil Uzi Vert, Young Thug, and more.

Official Flyer for Magnificent Coloring Day

After an executive decision for the Academy to change the rules for Grammy eligibility to recognize streaming releases, Chance The Rapper was nominated for three Grammys — Best New Artist, Best Rap Performance, and Best Hip-Hop Album of the Year. History was made as Chance was one of the first black hip-hop artists since 1999, when Lauryn Hillwas awarded, to win Best New Artist.

These past five years have been full of success for Chance and his brand will continue to expand as his career grows. He is proof that if you follow your dreams you can obtain anything you set your mind too. As an independent artist, Chance has opened the door for more to follow in his footsteps. Chance will begin his solo tour,“The Magnificent Coloring World Tour” on April 24, 2017 in San Diego.


Collins McClain is a junior sociology major, journalism minor at Morehouse College. He is from Milwaukee, Wisconsin.