Lil Chano From 79th by Connor O’Rourke

Chancelor Bennett was not always the inspirational rapper that he is today. Now known as Chance the Rapper, Bennett grew up in the Chatham neighborhood of Chicago, deep in the south side, famous for its gang activity and gun violence. Chance is very vocal about his childhood growing up, and the negative effects that his location had on him as a youth. Battling through drug addiction and the death of his best friend, Chance was able to defy the odds and make it big in the music industry. Chance began his music career rapping about drugs and violence, however, after dropping his third album, Coloring Book, Chance has blown up the rap game, proving that spirituality, family, and social justice have a place in the industry.

Although I feel that Chance can be viewed as a self-made man, he credits his success almost entirely to his grandmother. In his hit song, Sunday Candy, Chance explains the relationship with his grandmother. Powerful lines including “I like my hugs with a scent, you smell like lights, gas, water, electricity, rent” clearly show how Chance leaned on his grandmother at times. Chance has explained that he feels he would have been another victim of gang violence if his grandma had not worked so hard to keep him off the streets.

I feel that the reason that Chance’s story resonates so well with me and with so many other fans of his, is the actions he is taking currently to help people who are in similar situations. In my opinion, Chance does more for Chicago than any other celebrity does for anything when it comes to charity and giving back. He donated $1 million to Chicago Public Schools (more than half his net worth at the time), and his generosity encouraged other Chicago born celebrities to donate as well. He is constantly hosting open mic nights at libraries around Chicago to encourage young kids to get off the streets and explore their passions for music in a safe environment. He has even, on multiple occasions, bought out an entire movie theater so that youth who couldn’t afford to go to the movies could come and watch for free. I could go on all day speaking of the great things he has done for the city that raised him, and for that reason Chance has been a huge inspiration to me. Chance is a self-made man, who is doing everything in his power to build up those coming from the same streets as him.

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