If you’re looking to take a “Chance” on a new rapper, look no further than 20-year-old phenom Chance the Rapper from the Southside of Chicago, whose latest mixtape, Acid Rap, boasts the musicality of a young Kanye West or 3 Stacks, with a style and flare all his own.
Chance the Rapper took his first crack at music during his freshman year of high school when he linked with a friend to form the group Instrumentality, performing at school events and open mics around the city. But by senior year — when he was suspended for 10 days and used that time to record his debut mixtape, 10 Day — he’d officially become a one-man act, under an alias derived from his full name, Chancelor Bennett.
Right off the bat he’ll tell you that 2012’s 10 Day was the breakout tape that gave everyone a chance to make their judgments on his talents as an MC, with Acid Rap being his channel to get as wild as he wanted.
“They’re both conceptual tapes, but Acid Rap is a little bit more free-form, just a collection of songs. But there’s still one cohesive thing about it, something that perpetuates through the tracks … and that’s the questions,” he tells MTV News. “None of the songs are really declarative statements; a lot of them are just things that make you wonder … a lot like LSD.”
Throughout the trippy tape, you’ll pick up on nostalgic samples of Slum Village, A Tribe Called Quest, Mary J. Blige, John Legend and even an ode to Kanye West’s Freshmen Adjustment mixtape “Intro” on the two tracks “Good Ass Intro” and “Good Ass Outro.” But Chance also admits that acid did contribute to the good vibes.
“[There] was a lot of acid involved in Acid Rap,” he said, chuckling. “I mean, it wasn’t too much — I’d say it was about 30 to 40 percent acid … more so 30 percent acid.” So naturally, we had to ask: Was it difficult to rap under that influence?
“No, it’s not hard to rap on acid,” he responded matter-of-factly. “But it wasn’t the biggest component at all. It was something that I was really interested in for a long time during the making of the tape, but it’s not necessarily a huge faction at all. It was more so just a booster, a bit of fuel. It’s an allegory to acid, more so than just a tape about acid.”
Chance’s flow, by the way, is certainly a unique one, but again, that wasn’t just the acid rapping. “It’s definitely changed,” he explained of the way he spits his bars. “I used to sound just like Kanye when I rapped because that was all I listened to. I went through my Kanye phase, went through my Eminem phase, my Lil Wayne phase, my Andre  phase.”
“I listened to a lot of different music, and when you listen to something, it’s not really a choice of yours on whether the influence will come through — it’s inevitable. But I have found my own sound and I’m still experimenting with it and it’s never gonna sound the same. It doesn’t sound the same from 10 Day and it definitely doesn’t sound the same as the stuff I was doing when I was a freshman in high school.”
Check back with MTV News next week to hear Chance the Rapper break down a couple of his favorite tracks from Acid Rap.