Everything you needed to learn in life, you’ve already been taught, oddly. “Ms. What’s Her Name’s” Class. Kindergarten. As you sat in your World Studies or Sociology class in college, the teacher gave you a lesson, probably the most important lesson you would have ever learned in your short time on this Earth. All I Really need to Know, I Learned in Kindergarten, by Robert Fulghum. If you don’t know as of yet, let me tell you. If you already know, let me refresh you. Always share. Say sorry when you hurt somebody. Take naps every day. Don’t hit people, and don’t take what is not yours. Robbery, violence, and divorce are big deals in society amongst older society, but they say that kids don’t have it all together. Yeah, right. But most importantly, when you go out into the world, watch out for traffic, old hands, and stick together. Be full of awareness and wonder, and most importantly, the hamsters, and goldfish we had and loved as pets die, and eventually, so do we.
These are just some of the things Chance The Rapper (Chancelor Bennett) talks about in his music, especially his highly successful EP, Acid Rap, which had the airwaves blazing in 2013 all the way to this year. Unity, peace, love, happiness, and youthfulness are some things that Chance preaches in his music almost anytime he gets the opportunity it seems. Truly, his music is a rose that grew from the concrete, as his sound does not reflect that of which the city of Chicago represents now. Gang violence, drugs of any name, sexual assault, and almost every other condemnable thing is running rampant in the city these days. With the emergence of a new wave gangster rap and artists promoting these things, it does not help the cause to which these teenagers are soon to fall victim to. But a new wave has swept over all this, the kind of wave that Chance The Rapper seems to be riding on all throughout the country at the moment.
With his gaining popularity and sound, he has astonished critics and colleagues with his sold out Social Experiment tour, even catching the eyes of top billboard artists such as Lil’ Wayne and Justin Bieber, putting him on guest appearances of their highly anticipated respective albums and Mix-tape EP’s, as well as landing other guest appearances on R&B artist Jeremih’s new single “The End.” He even found himself in great new company, making this year’s coveted 2014 XXL Freshman List, a cover J.Cole, Wale, Kid Cudi, Kendrick Lamar, and even Wiz Khalifa have had the privilege of gracing in the past; not bad company. Something like this hasn’t come out of Chicago so positive and heat-seeking before. Well, at least not since Kanye West. With Childish Gambino’s cosign of the young rapper, it brings you back to when a certain Shawn “Jay-Z” Carter put his arm around a young Ye’(nothing but up from here right?) This rapper/fashion designer/producer/whatever else there is to do for money has many humble beginnings and much similar to Chance, grew up in the inner-city of Chicago, USA.
They have similar traits of good kids not trying to be labeled as thugs, from a city where you are identified by what gang you claim or by having a massive gun collection. Just like Chance, Kanye too grew up on Christian values. These values saw him through many trials, such as his near-fatal car accident back in 2001. He had his mouth wired shut, but that didn’t stop him from creating the great single we know today as “Through the Wire.” College Dropout, Kanye’s debut album, was an album in which Kanye West expressed his faith, much similar to Chance The Rappers’ much acclaimed EP, Acid Rap. But as both expressed faith in a higher power, Kanye was still a very troubled man, with too much knowledge it seemed for his time.
Chicago was still the blood pool it was back then when Kanye came up, and he just wanted to be a light in the darkness. At this time in the early 00s, the things to talk about was yes, still money, cars, clothes, and h**s, Kanye brought out songs like “Jesus Walks,” “Spaceships,” and “All Falls Down,” where he calls out the world for its evil ways, as well as his own “We buy a lot of clothes but we don’t really need em / We ain’t going nowhere but got suits and cases / We all self-conscious, I’m just the first to admit it / Asking us questions / harassing and arrest us/saying we eat pieces of sh** like you for breakfast.” Kanye’s lyrics brought such a refreshing wave over the hip-hop world, much as Chance has done today. In a day where we still talk about the same thing, Chance is definitely one of the few that speak on what is in the soul, and can still turn up to something so soulful. Running with his counterpart Vic Mensa, they are helping shine a light that Kanye and his counterpart Common did all those years ago.
In his song, “Lost,” off the Acid Rap EP, he made sure that the mixtape had a Chi-town feel to it, but also got a little deep on the track, talking about the youth and where we are as a people. “They murking kids / they murder kids here / why you think we don’t talk about it/where the f*** is Matt Lauer at / where the f*** is Katie Couric in here / no love for the opposition / especially in a cop’s position / because they’ve never been in our position.” A man who skyrocketed to the Billboard charts, seen top 10 features on hit songs, and with a sold-out tours across the globe; we can only hope that the pressure doesn’t get to young Channel. Kanye was the same way, crumbling under the pressure of the paparazzi, with fighting the men behind the cameras, to interrupting award shows, all the way to praising himself as a proclaimed, “God”(let’s not bring up the incident with Sway at Sway in the Morning, obviously the nicest guy in broadcast television). Kanye has definitely changed over the years, but as we see similarities between him and this young rising superstar, we can only hope that Chance the Rapper “could” be the next Kanye West. But only with the accolades and the great music. Not the ego and persona behind just a regular human being, more about the people, and less about “you.” “I know, you’re scared / you should ask us if we scared too / If you was there / then we just knew you cared too / cuz’ everybody dies in the summer / wanna say goodbyes, tell them while it’s spring / I heard everyone dies in the summer / So pray to God for a little more spring.”
It also should be known that Chancelor is a huge fan of Kanye West, and cites him as one of his biggest influences. “Bumpin’ Kanye like it just came out / No songs with Kendrick we just hang out,” said Chance on his homie Vic Mensa’s song “Tweakin.” We feel you Channel, keep your head up. You’re not in this alone. Things will get better.