Chance The Rapper
April 16, 1993
Chicago, Illinois, United States
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Midwestern hip-hop artist Chance the Rapper earned critical praise and considerable sales without releasing a proper album, thanks in part to the positive response for his three mixtapes, including 10 Day (2012) and Coloring Book (2016). Born Chancelor Bennett on April 16, 1993 in Chicago, Illinois, he was the eldest son of Ken Williams-Bennett, who worked with many of the city's major political figures, including Barack Obama during his senatorial duties and Mayor Rahm Emanuel. Chance Bennett began performing hip-hop in a duo with a friend while attending Jones College Pre High School, from which he was suspended for marijuana possession in 2011; he used the ten days' punishment to record his first mixtape, appropriately titled 10 Day. He issued the first single, "Windows," at the end of the year, and spent the majority of 2012 reworking the material for a complete online release in 2012. Word of mouth about Bennett's lyrical talent and gift for blending soul and jazz into his tracks soon generated positive response from publications like Forbes magazine, which in turn helped to earn him the opening slot on actor-comedian Donald Glover's tour as musical alter ego Childish Gambino that same year. Glover/Gambino would lend his talents to Chance's second mixtape, Acid Rap, which received over 1 million downloads and a Best Mixtape nomination at the 2013 BET Hip Hop Awards. Appearances at the Lollapalooza festival in Chicago and in an advertising spot for Myspace with Pharrell Williams and Schoolboy Q preceded performances on Saturday Night Live (NBC, 1975- ) and "The Late Show with Stephen Colbert" (CBS, 2015- ) and collaborations with Macklemore and Ryan Lewis and Kanye West, whom Chance cited as one of his primary influences. With the release of his third mixtape, Coloring Book, Chance had not only solidified his place among the new class of hip-hop superstars by reaching No. 8 on the Billboard albums chart - with an album released solely in streaming format - but also spurred the Recording Academy to change its rules regarding streaming-only releases and eligibility for Grammy Awards. While remaining unsigned to a major label, Chance the Rapper became a mainstream pop superstar, appearing in commercials for a brand of candy bar and hosting "Saturday Night Live" (NBC 1975- ) during its 43rd season. In March 2017, he announced his intention to donate one million dollars to the Chicago public school system, part of an increasingly outspoken political bent to his persona.