“Rapper of the Year” By George Corchado

Society has long been accepting of true art coming from bottled up feelings of depression, anger, sorrow, and more specifically in hip hop and rap, ambition. For what seems to be an eternity, the genre has been flooded by artists who claim to be the best, lyrics about an artist being overlooked, and verses about how rap has gone to waste. The “Good Kid” isn’t supposed to be taken seriously in the world that hip hop has created for itself, but this isn’t the case for a young man from Chicago. Chance the Rapper has come to show that hip hop isn’t only for the strivers, and that ambition isn’t necessarily measured by what you want to achieve. His latest solo project, “Coloring Book” is essentially a statement that his life’s great. In a genre that glorifies having to struggle and go to extremes just to get by, Chance humbly expresses his Christian self by consistently reminding his listeners of lessons about modesty, hard work, faith, and independence. These are concepts introduced to us usually at a young age, hence the title “Coloring Book”. But it’s not the ideas that Chance preaches that gets him recognition, (if that was the case, he’d be overlooked like any other Christian rapper) it’s the level of artistry he presents himself and his ideas with. His mixtapes are riddled with church choirs and heavenly trumpets, as well as a balance between energetic and slower, drugged down melodies backed by a feel-good drum pattern. And when you have someone like Kanye West to mentor you, it’s hard not to stand out. Despite that, it’s Chance’s goofy persona and great work ethic that has masses fall in love him. Very rarely does Mr. Bennet give off a vibe other than a positive one. His youthful appeal has talk show hosts like Ellen, Jimmy Fallon, Jimmy Kimmel, Stephen Colbert, and many others working to his likings just to get him on their shows for interviews or guest performances. But despite the immense amount of attention the Chicago native has garnered throughout 2016, Chance the Rapper remains an unsigned artist. He has his own festival and a top 10 album – all without being signed to a record label. His three mixtapes have all been released independently and they’ve all been stream-only, meaning he hasn’t released his music as a physical record but instead online through free music streaming services such as Soundcloud. And with that, “Coloring Book” has become the only stream-only album nominated for a Grammy, and hopefully the first to win one. At the age of 23, Chance has become a pioneer in the industry, opening a window for young artists to not have to rely on a label to release their music for them. Thank you, Chance.

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