Chance the Rapper
I like to think all great ideas are born from a spark of inspiration and that we all have mentors or people to thank for our accomplishments. For many of us, it might be our parents, who afforded us the opportunity to dream. For others, it might be a friend who encouraged you to do what you love. For many artists, it’s artists who came before them and crafted sounds that inspired their art.
As much as I love searching for new music, I’m a firm believer in slowing down and listening repeatedly to the music that you love the most. Have a playlist of your all-time favorites and play that on repeat (mine is always growing, it lives here*). Learn about artists from the past who might have inspired modern day sounds you love (recently I watched a documentary called 20 Feet From Stardom, definitely recommend watching that). Do some research on the artists who have inspired your favorite artists of today.
The artist I’ve loved getting to know the most during the time I’ve run Sunset is Chance the Rapper. I’ve written countless stories, tweets, Facebook posts, etc. about my love for Chance and his music. He’s a perfect example of an artist who inspires me to take a break from hunting for new music. Most Thursday mornings on my way to work I’ll turn on some hip-hop music to get myself excited for what’s arguably one of the best days of the week. It tends to be Chance I’m listening to on repeat.
In the spirit of learning more about inspiration, and because I can’t get enough of Chance, I dug a little deeper into many of the songs that Chance has sampled. I have this idea in my mind of artists and producers finding a neighborhood record store and spending a full afternoon dusting off old records, putting them on the turntables, and listening for inspiration in some classic pieces. That could or could not be how it actually happens, but no matter the method, I think it’s just as important to learn about and understand wheresounds in the songs you love come from as it is to interpret the words and stories they’ve pieced together. So I’ve put together this Spotify playlist below that features songs Chance has sampled in his portfolio of songs on 10 Day and Acid Rap. Hit the jump for a tracklist that maps the samples to Chance’s original songs.
*Note: many of my favorite songs are not on this playlist because they’re not yet available on Spotify. Almost all of Chance’s music would be on here if it could be.
31 days up, and 31 days down. Per usual, the team over at Sunset has gotten together to bring you the best new songs to be put out in August. Phenomenal list, as always!
Highlights this month:
Kygo released not one, but two random piano tracks. Chance The Rapper made an appearance this month. Skizzy Mars keeps on releasing dope remixes. Oh, he also hopped on his buddy, Allday’s “Grammy.” Oh, Be Clever flexed their muscles with their latest release, “River.” The recent out pour of Gallant’s “Weight in Gold” remixes is intimidating, but we decided to give you a standout from Sweater Beats. Sol dropped some wise knowledge on us.
Hit the jump for the Soundcloud stream and download!
Ever since the release of Surf, Chance The Rapper has kind of been like Mr. No Days Off. First, he gets based with the god himself, Lil B. Now, he gives us this gem with none other than the most-commonly-featured Noname Gypsy. Hopefully this continues since Chance never actually dropped a solo project since Acid Rap. With a baby on the way and a big tour coming up, Chance is gearing up for a hell of a finish to 2015 and early start to 2016. Sorry for not really talking about the new release, but like, it’s Chance–of course it’s dope. You don’t need me to tell you that. Lyrics after the jump!
The two MCs announced the mixtape a few weeks ago, and the Based God liberated it today via SoundCloud. Clocking in at a breezy six tracks, the project features an eclectic array of beats that serve as backdrop for bar after bar of stream-of-consciousness flow.
While a lot of rappers nowadays pass off written verses as freestyles, one spin through Free and you can tell that this truly is an off the dome project. There are moments where you can hear both rappers free associating, and there’s a certain infectious fun that comes from hearing two of the game’s biggest young MCs just get in the booth and record without any fear of failure.
The project doesn’t rival either artist’s best work, but really it isn’t supposed to, and it works much more as a testament to their love of hip-hop than an official release.
Particular standouts include the menacing “We Rare,” and the soulful opener “Last Dance,” which features a particularly clever “Acid to Bases” quip from Chance, but really this is a project that works best when you just listen straight through and bask in the rappers’ chemistry.
It’s been quite the few months for Chancelor Bennett. First he released Surf, the out of nowhere follow-up to his sensational Acid Rap mixtape, then he demolished the closing set of Pitchfork Music Festival and topped it off by announcing his Family Matters tour, which kicks off in October.
And somewhere in there, he managed to find the time to announce that he is bringing a life form into this world.
For the record, I still believe the pregnancy announcement may’ve just been a tongue-in-cheek promo for his latest set of road dates. He pulled a similar prank on the public when he announced he was “going to college…” and then kicked off a campus tour in Fall 2014.
But maybe that’s just my cynicism showing through, or concern over the fact that Chance is barely a year older than me and is on the precipice of fatherhood. For this article’s sake, let’s assume Chance is about to be a dad, and take a look at what that means in the context of his latest project.
There are moments in life when you have to drop everything you’re doing and focus on one thing. When Chance The Rapper and his music group The Social Experiment release a new project, I stop what I’m doing and pay attention.
Chance The Rapper is the most common answer I give when people ask me who my favorite artist I’ve discovered through music blogging is. It’s tough to compete with an artist like Sam Smith, who is another frontrunner, and this isn’t an apples to apples comparison because the music they make is so different, but I appreciate Chance for his ability to explore what the meaning of art is. Today’s music video is a fine example: he explores gospel, theater, and big-band jazz influences while maintaining an element of entertainment and catchiness all along (did you see those dance moves?!).
Chance’s portfolio is vast, containing deep, dark songs like “Paranoia,” nostalgic songs like “Wonderful Everyday“, depressing songs like “No Better Blues,” crowd pleasers like a cover of Coldplay’s “Fix You,” and refreshing pick-me-ups like “Everybody’s Something,” and with the latest work from Chance and The Social Experiment, it only looks to be evolving and growing into something more artful and alluring every day.
Pitchfork Music Festival drops their 2015 Lineup featuring Wilco, Chance The Rapper, and Sleater-Kinney
Pitchfork Music Festival is the latest to drop their 2015 lineup. The Chicago-based concert, which takes place in Union Park from July 17-19, will include top bills of Wilco, Chance The Rapper, and Sleater-Kinney. Other notable acts include Future Islands, CHVRCHES, Run The Jewels, The New Pornographers, Caribou, and Mac DeMarco, among others.
Single day tickets as well as three-day passes are now available over on the festival’s official website.
If you’re heading to P4k, who are you most excited to check out?
Chance The Rapper just released a new song called “No Better Blues” on his SoundCloud page. For the Kid Cudi lovers out there (I’m shouting myself out right now), this might resonate with you. It’s a heavy emotional song that tells a story about the blues, and the feeling that can come with a form of depression where you hate everything – the ordinary things, the good things, the bad things, the comfortable and uncomfortable things. There isn’t joy to be found.
I imagine there are people out there who don’t appreciate hip hop music who will press play and say they hate this song. They hate that rappers don’t have any musical talent and that they can just speak over music that they often don’t make. They could go on and on about what they hate, just as Chance has in this song. But what I’d urge them to do is go beyond the sound that they may or may not like about hip hop music and think about the storytelling that goes into this. Chance is telling a story about the blues at exactly the right time. Just over a month ago, the world was mourning the passing of Robin Williams and depression and the demons that come with it were being talked about on the news. Today, it’s a thing of the past, and we’ve moved on to the more current news. We mustn’t forget the true battle so many face with a darkness so overwhelming one can feel they hate every single thing in life — their bed, their home, their family, the sun, the rain, the clouds, the war, the charities. It’s all covered in darkness.
But there are two lines in particular in this song by Chance that stand out to me. One is repeated throughout the song as Chance sings and raps “it don’t get no better,” and one is more subtle when he says “I hate to hate.” This isn’t something people choose to feel. But unfortunately, it’s not something there’s an easy cure for either. It’s an important matter that needs to stay in the foreground, and I commend Chance for bringing it back into the conversation, so long as people can see the true meaning of the song as I’ve interpreted it.
Is Chance himself actually feeling this way? Who knows. Maybe not…after all, he talks about things in here that he doesn’t have (a twin, for example). But that’s the beauty of art: it can tell stories about meaningful topics that don’t always have to represent the 1st person’s true life. The power is the story behind it. And Chance has told an incredibly powerful story in a song that many may brush off as something they hate. But take a deeper look, and you just may see the importance of it after all.
Every year for what’s now been 10 years running, Lollapalooza has invaded the grounds of Grant Park in Chicago, IL and grips the city in an awesome and unavoidable way. In the week leading up to the festival, you can feel the metro area swelling up, as if to prepare for the oncoming chaos. And regardless of what you thought of this year’s lineup (meh), Lolla is always a party full of spectacular moments.
This year’s fest was no exception to this rule. It’s a tall task to sum up 72-hours of music, mud, and general mayhem in just 7 small yet encapsulating moments, but I did my best for everybody’s fleeting attention spans.
Here are The 7 Sweetest Moments from Lollapalooza 2014 below.
7. Portugal. The Man Covering It’s Always Sunny’s “Dayman”
Covers can be cheesy and predictable. Sure, we’ve all heard the indie band who does a rendition of an old Snoop Dog song or something and people go nuts over it. But, what about when a band dramatically covers a song from It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia? Awesome.
6. Toothless Gosling and Prison Mike Sinage
Festival signage usually falls within the realm of inside joke or completely and randomly awesome. These are both examples of the later.
5. Andre 3000 Bringing Girls On Stage To Shake It Like A Polaroid Picture
It’s impossible to not dance when “Hey Ya” comes on. It’s perfect. To prove this point, Andre 3000 brought some Beyonce’s and Lucy Lu’s on stage to get down to his now classic hit. I’m not complaining.
4. Grouplove Covering Beastie Boys’s “Sabotage”
Sooo, remember that thing I said about indie bands covering hip-hop songs earlier? Yeah, still awesome.
3. Malia Obama Snapping Photos With Concertgoers Like It’s No Big Deal
J chillin with Malia Obama✌️ pic.twitter.com/IuM0A88g9B
— Sarah (@cleaaaaver) August 4, 2014
The First Lady was recently spotted with her daughters at the Chicago stop of the “On The Run” tour just the other week. These gals have a pretty good taste in music, I’d say.
2. Rihanna Joining Eminem for a Rendition of “Stan”
With Em and Ri kicking off a tour in Detroit soon, many expected the duo to share the stage at some point during the legendary emcee’s Lolla set. Well, it happened and it was especially awesome that she stuck around for “Stan.”
1. Chance Bringing Out R. Kelly for “Ignition (Remix)”
Chance’s set was something of a momentous event. A hometown kid headlining Perry’s stage with a crowd that arguably rivaled next door neighbor headliners Kings of Leon and Skrillex. And then Chano brought out another Chicago legend just to put icing on the cake. Nailed it.
Lollapalooza is fast approaching this weekend with main-stage legends coming by way of Eminem, OutKast and Kings of Leon. The annual Chicago music festival held against the city’s skyline is hip-hop top heavy this year, and it make sense when you think about the town’s emerging rap scene. It’s hard to say who’s the bigger or more exciting bill between Em and OutKast, but I may have to give the nod to Slim Shady since Big Boi and Andre 3000 are hitting virtually every U.S. city this summer. So, who else do you have to catch that won’t be playing at the Bud Light or Samsung Galaxy stages?
If you find yourself in the Windy City this weekend, make sure to check out these other great non-headlining sets.
7. Iggy Azalea
Iggy’s breakout summer jam “Fancy” has dominated charts all season. Though she’s a rising name in hip-hop, you already know this crowd is going to be filled with chicks getting white girl wasted. Bring it on.
Haunting, bouncy, and beautiful all at the same time, Phantogram blends sample-based electronic music with lead singer Sarah Barthel’s tragically smooth vocals. Expect a super cool light show too.
5. Foster The People
You probably remember Foster The People destroying radio waves a few summers ago with “Pumped Up Kicks.” Well, their new song “Best Friends” is pretty addicting too. This will be sure to be an awesomely bouncy set.
This Queensbridge-native is a certified living legend, and he’s been performing his classic Illmatic in full all summer to celebrate its 20th anniversary. You don’t want to miss this kind of momentous show.
Flume breeds a kind of electronic music that is quite unlike anybody else. Both brooding and infectious, the Australian-born producer will be sure to deliver a rave for the ages.
Chromeo sets are guaranteed to be funky, fresh, and fun. Expect lots of high-flying guitar and super-soaked synths that sound like they’re blaring straight from the 80s.
1. Chance The Rapper
Hometown hero Chance The Rapper was grossly under-staged last year at Lolla, but this year he’ll be closing down Perry’s stage. With a flurry of syllabic rhymes and an addictive turn-down-for-what energy, don’t be surprised if this MC’s crowd rivals Skrillex or Kings of Leon playing nearby.
You might remember Saba as the guy who was not Chance the Rapper but kind of sounded like Chance the Rapper on the closing verse of “Everybody’s Something” from Chance’s Acid Rap mixtape. The young MC is a member of westside Chicago’s music collective Pivot Gang and has at least two great tracks to his name.
Now, I’ll be honest. I am in India right now on vacation. I had made the mental decision before coming to India that I would not post any music at all and would just enjoy this time with my grandparents. It says something about “Burnout” that it could move me to write this post. There’s something about this song… man. It feels like a moment. Like when we first heard “Family” by Chano back in 2012. You get a sense that this is a young rapper with so much confidence and control over his craft. He is not insecure, trying to do unnecessary lyrical backflips with metaphors that aren’t working. Instead, he has a matured musicality and understands how to pick his moments within a song. He offers both the wide-eyed wonder of a hip-hop enthusiast and the sharpshooting precision of a veteran lyricist.
Check out the first single from Saba’s upcoming mixtape Comfort Zone (“Burnout” is the second single).
It’s no secret that we’re completely obsessed with Chance The Rapper here at Sunset. His phenomenal sophomore mixtape, Acid Rap, came out a year ago today, and most of us still listen to it religiously. At the time, we even spent 30 minutes of our not-so-valuable time blabbering in front of our laptops about how amazing we thought it was. Then we named it our second favorite album of the year (even though it technically wasn’t even an album).
So yeah, we’re fans.
Anyway, on Monday Chance posted a tweet about a new song that had been recently uploaded to Soundcloud. Blinded by the excitement of a new Chance The Rapper track, most people (including myself) clicked the link without carefully reading the full tweet. We were greeted by a breezy summer-ready song that would have fit in very nicely on Acid Rap — except Chance sounded a little different than usual. His singing voice was a little lower and his flow had changed. Personally, I kind of enjoyed the changes. Judging by the Soundcloud comments that said things like, “great new song, Chance!” I wasn’t the only one.
Then I looked up and saw that the song had been uploaded to an account called, “Taylor Bennett Tunes”. Whoa! Chance’s little brother! I had checked out some of his songs around a year ago — and they were good — but this was on a whole other level. Of course, the biggest knock on Taylor will be that he sounds very similar to Chance, but this is a promising step toward individual success. He has our attention to say the least. Taylor’s technical skills and ability to craft a thoroughly enjoyable song are obviously already there. With time, he’ll likely develop his own style and the Bennett’s will take over the world.
I mean, they’re already on a first-name-basis with the Obamas (thanks to their father’s Chicago political connections). In the meantime, enjoy the new King Louie-assisted song below. Then soak in a legendary photo of the Bennett’s with Barack Obama in the White House and stream another single, “Ballin” from Bennett’s upcoming Mainstream Music mixtape, out May 4.