Some of the most influential artists in hip-hop are natives of Chicago -- Kanye West, Common and Lupe Fiasco, to name a few -- and while the city is brimming with talent, Chance the Rapper wants to make it clear that the city has become 'scummy' and consumed by violent crime that no one's dealing with head-on.
Over the past year, horrifying statistics have continued to emerge from Chicago, with murder rates skyrocketing, earning the city the title of "murder capital of the U.S." this year. During his visit to "RapFix Live" on Wednesday (October 30), Chance was very blunt about his feelings on the city's downward spiral.
The 20-year-old delved into the lyrics of his Acid Rap single "Acid Rain," breaking down the significance of the lines, "My big homey died young, just turned older than him/ I seen it happen, I seen it happen, I see it always/ He still be screaming, I see his demons in empty hallways."
Chance explained that he watched one of his close friends, the aspiring rapper Rodney Kyles Jr., die, two years ago after being stabbed in a street fight.
"I watched it happen," he said solemnly. "He was 19 when it happened, I was 18, and I just turned 20 this year. It's just crazy because I have a few friends that were older than me, but now I'm older than them.
"That put a lot of things into perspective for me," he added. "So there's a lot of lyrics about that specific event."
Chance was straightforward, explaining that he's baffled by the tendency to romanticize Chicago, when murder is an everyday occurrence.
"I don't know where people think I'm from, but I'm from Chicago. It's really just that," he said. "People wanna romanticize it and say, 'There's two sides to it, and it's a beautiful love/hate story of violence and music.' But it's really just a very scummy place where people don't have respect for other people's lives. And it's not gonna change until somebody, anybody, puts it right in front of everybody else's faces."