Chance The Rapper Provides Talks For Concordia Students
One of the most talked about and well respected rappers to emerge within the past 5 years is Chicago born Chance the Rapper. Born Chancelor Bennett, the emcee grew up in the South Side of the city, an area known for its ongoing struggles with violence and high death rates among young people. Despite the stereotypes often seen in his circumstances, Bennett was raised by a well educated, politically motivated family. Chance's father, Ken Williams-Bennett has been recognized for his work with President Barack Obama during his time as a senator, along with assisting former mayors of Chicago.
Bennett rose to popularity in 2013 when his mixtape, Acid Rap was hailed one of the year's best projects by various musical outlets. Since then, the rapper has been slowly conquering the world, whether it be through stellar guest verses for artists such as Madonna and Justin Bieber, or appearances at world renown festivals like Coachella and Squamish.
Before his performance in Montreal yesterday as part of his "Family Matters Tour", students of Concordia University were treated to a conversation between Chance and teacher/local rapper Yassin "Narcy" Alsalman. Organized by the Concordia Student Union, the event was held at the university's Hall Building, with many eager fans lining up across the block to secure their seat.
Clocking in just past an hour, the talk saw Chance discussing his life, music and surroundings. This started with his humble beginnings in Chicago right up until now, on tour and recently having his first child.
Chance The Rapper jokes about Canada
Highlights of the event was when the artist touched down on the issue of violence in his hometown (along with how to potentially resolve it). Unlike many, Chance explained how he is actively involved in finding ways to resolve these issues, be it his field trips for Chicago youth or his "Anti-Violence Initiative", in which people of the city are asked to not partake in any acts of violence for a span of 24 hours. Another standout moment was when members of Chance's band, The Social Experiment, Donnie Trumpet and Peter Cottontail were brought out momentarily to discuss the creative process that goes into making their music. This May, the band released Surf, the first entirely free studio album to be released via iTunes. In the first week alone, the project had received over 600, 000 downloads.
But perhaps the most compelling part of the discussion was when Bennett was asked about his newly received gift of fatherhood. "I didn't know what love was until I had my daughter", explained Chance. "There is just a different sense when you have someone who depends on you to live and breath. They know you are important to their lives, even if they aren't fully conscious of it yet". This had the audience letting out quite a few "Aaawwweee"s, even a few tears.
Once the conversation between Chance and Narcy concluded, the floor was open to questions from the crowd. These remained fairly light for the most part with fans asking about everything from tips for being an independent rapper (Chance is notoriously known for being one of the biggest new rappers to have not signed with a label), working with Bay-Area emcee Lil B on their recent Based Freestyles mixtape and some of the female artists that inspired him, to which he answered Erykah Badu, Beyonce and Lauryn Hill as the most poignant as far as influence.
The last question was from a young man dressed in all white, who stood up with both hands raised in the air throughout the entire fan asking period. He asked Chance if he would do a rap battle with him, to which the emcee jokingly screamed "NO" at him.
Once fully finished, Chance the Rapper received a standing ovation, the audience clearly being grateful to hear him speak. For those who did not have the chance (pun intended) to attend, the Concordia Student Union has confirmed that the event will be released as part of a podcast in the near future.
On a related note, we interviewed Chance's Social Experiment band mate, Donnie Trumpet later in the night. Stay tuned to see that conversation, which will be dropping in early November!