On Tuesday, December 06, The Recording Academy announced the nominations for the 59th Grammy Awards. No shock here: Beyonce heads the nomination with a whopping total of nine nominations. What’s more exciting, however, is the seven nominations that Chance the Rapper now has under his belt. These nominations, which include Best New Artist, Best Rap Performance and Best Rap Song (both for “No Problem”) and Best Rap Album (Coloring Book), have officially allowed Chance to become the first artist to receive Grammy nominations for a streaming-only project.
He’s an artist to watch, as his heart and soul goes into everything he creates. Read a little bit more about him and then listen to the “feat. Chance the Rapper” playlist I’ve created to celebrate this feat.
Chance the Rapper is more than his namesake would suggest. Last month, Chance (born Chancellor Bennett) headlined a free concert, “Parade to the Polls” in his hometown of Chicago, and partnered with his non-profit, Social Works, led attendees to the polls for early voting. ABC7 reported that this year showed the highest number of pre-election voting that Cook County had seen since 2012. He actively took to Twitter to remind people to register to vote and encouraged people to use their voices especially during an election year.
Chance is unapologetically himself, evidenced in his music. (Seriously, have you heard Coloring Book? If you haven’t gotten around to listening to it, do so STAT!) This isn’t limited to his mixtapes, but rather, it includes the stuff he’s featured in too. He’s committed to living authentically, and this visibility he exhibits encourages people to do the same. His listeners are not blinded by misconceptions of wealth and popularity; he tears those facades down. That’s what I love about his song with Macklemore and Ryan Lewis, “Need to Know”, as the guys each talk about how illustrious fame is– how once you’re in this spotlight it’s easy to use it as a means to show off your accomplishments and wealth, rather than utilize this massive platform to call out social injustices or help others when you’re able. He’s constantly championing for Chicago (you’ll hear him talk about it in “Show Me Love”), and on Memorial Day of 2014, Chance and his father launched the #SaveChicago campaign which aimed to stop gun violence in the city. The movement resulted in 42 hours without incident within the city. He’s transparent about the dangers of prescription pill abuse (“All My Friends”) and is aware that his life as a father and brother will affect the way he makes music and the way he sees the world as he examines race relations (“Broad Shoulders”—which is by his brother, Taylor!).
I want to say that Chance should really considering rebranding himself—Chance the Inspiration, Chance the Activist, Chance the Hero—but it is through his actions that you know he is not simply looking to receive attention or positive press. He’s actually just a really good dude making the most of the voice he’s been given, and that’s what I love about him. Congrats, Chance!