Chance the Rapper on 'Acid Rap' and What Major Labels Should Offer Him


Chance the Rapper set the Internet ablaze last week with the release of Acid Rap. The trippy, soulful mixtape quickly became a critical and download darling, turning the relative neophyte (he's only 20 years old) into hip hop’s newest sensation. While walking around his native Chicago, Chance spoke to Hive about dreams of meeting his idol Kanye West, getting courted by major record labels and hoping Acid Rap improves his love life.

Since you released Acid Rap, you’ve become everyone’s favorite new rapper, but your debut mixtape, 10Day, came out last year. Does it bother you that so many people are late to the party?

To a certain extent. I did a project before, so this tape [Acid Rap], I didn’t make as a coming out project. I made it as a coming back project. It’s kind of weird that a lot of people are like “Should we accept him or not? Is he good for the rap community?” and all types of questions. That’s not really the focus of the tape. I’m not trying to prove to anybody that I’m good at rapping or anything. So far, it’s been rave reviews and high acclaim and to a certain extent, even that’s not necessarily the response I wanted, because that’s not the topic of the mixtape. This is much deeper than that.

So set the record straight. What is the point of the mixtape?

I mean, the real questions on the tape have to deal with uh, an array of different issues from questions of morality, structure, in terms of how society works, different perspectives from different socioeconomic backgrounds and races. There’s so many different subjects. If I was to break it down, it would probably be better song by song. I’ve said it before. The mixtape is like, a fucking test of a million questions; a long ass exam. The point of it is to raise questions, kind of like LSD.

Your use of acid has been receiving a lot of press. Did you intend to be the torchbearer for LSD use or is it annoying?

Yeah. That’s weird. I think it’s something a lot of people don’t know about, so they’re weirded out by the fact that I would associate my music with it, but it’s a lot deeper than just a mixtape I made about LSD. Or on LSD.

Hip hop has really co-opted Molly from the club kids. Do you think LSD will be the new Molly?

That’s a possibility. I’m not necessarily afraid of it because it’s a social experiment. I’m just trying to find out what would happen if I put it out in a way I put it out. There’s no point on the tape where I tell anybody it’s good to do acid or glorify it at all.

You were heavily influenced by Kanye West’s College Dropout. Has he reached out since Acid Rap came out?

Nah. I would freak the fuck out. I’m not even going to lie, I would freak the fuck out. I don’t know what I would say if he called me.  I would probably say... I don’t know. I’ve never met ‘Ye. I’ve never even been close to ‘Ye. I would probably ask to meet him and hear some of the records from Good Ass Job that never came out. I would definitely ask for a beat and a feature. I mean, that’s not even a question. Have you ever met ‘Ye?

Yeah. In passing. If I run into him, I’ll hook you guys up. Just slide that 15% commission over.

Put me on! I’m down. 50%, what’s up?

Aside from Kanye, who do you want to work with next?

I’m so fucking booked. [Laughs.] With shit with the tape dropping, that it’s going to be a minute before I start caring about making my album. I’ve been really trying to work with Wyclef, Three Stacks [Andre 3000]. Um, Mike WiLL Made It, I’ve been trying to get up with him. Mike WiLL Made It should make me a beat. I’m a huge fan of FlyLo, I’m a huge fan of 9th Wonder. Toro Y Moi.

So now that you’re a famous rapper, I’d imagine your social life getting better. How’s dating?

I do have problems a lot in that area, often. I’m just so ugly in the face. That’s probably my main problem, but this mixtape will help.

You’re going to get so many girls now.  Are you looking for hoes or love? I’m a pretty good matchmaker.

I hope so.  I hope so. I’ll take either. I’m at the stage where I’ll take anything I can get.  Let’s hope for these hoes.

You’re performing at Lollapalooza this summer. Are all the girls who were mean to you in high school hitting you up for tickets?

Man. I’ve changed my number so many times, I don’t think anybody knows my number. That’s probably why I’m not getting any hoes.  It’s hard to get in contact.

A little birdie told me that you’re in the middle of a record label bidding war. What would a major have to offer you to get you interested?

[Laughs]. Man, I can’t even say. People have hit us up. There’s a lot of interest in what we have going on. I try to distance myself from it because I’m not interested in too much right now other than pushing this free album. There’s a lot of people who are super thirsty right now. It’s dope people want to partner up, but I’m a very tunnel vision guy. I have so much shit on my plate all the time that I try and focus on things one at a time.

If anybody wants to uh, buy me like ad space on the side of a building that says, “Hey Chance! You’re doing great today” or you know, maybe give me a car that only drives backwards. Something that’s thinking outside of the box. Then again, I can’t say that it’ll guarantee you any type of play. Those types of things are funny and cool to me.

What if the backwards car is driven by Kanye West?

Man! If Kanye West gives me anything! Kanye West can give me a car that only goes forward that can’t even reverse. That’d be hard to beat. He can give me my first TV.