Chancelor Bennett, a.k.a. Chance the Rapper, is well-known for his irrepressible musical creativity and his philanthropy, including a $1 million donation to Chicago Public Schools. We asked the 24-year-old artist five questions about his life and career, and his answers will blow you away.
1. What did it feel like to win three Grammys in one night?
When you win a Grammy, they take you to an area backstage where there are hundreds of swans trapped in a giant cage, shrieking and tearing out their own feathers. The organizers explain that every Grammy belongs to a swan, that the swan will stop at nothing to get its prized possession back, and that you’ll never be safe from it, ever, unless you opt to beat the swan to death right then and there. I couldn’t bring myself to do it, so now I have three swans constantly trying to murder me and my family. Winning a Grammy is the worst thing in the world.
2. How do you approach collaborations with other artists?
If you’re going to call on other rappers to join you on a track, it’s up to you to set the agenda. Tupac Shakur was a master at this. Rappers would come into the studio, and he’d have printouts that included the topic of that day’s rap, a list of suggested rhyme words, and a brief description of each rapper’s responsibilities for cleaning up after they were done recording.
3. You’ve been a real advocate for underprivileged youth in this country. Why is that so important to you?
I love kids. Kids are the only people on this planet who I know can never pick me up, no matter how hard they try. They just aren’t strong enough. It’s basically impossible. I don’t even weigh 200 pounds, but to a child, I am completely immovable. I might as well be a mountain to them. It makes me feel safe. Whenever I’m around an adult, I’m always just waiting for them to pick me up and carry me away to a dungeon. I don’t have that problem with kids. I can trust them.
4. What inspires your philanthropy?
Originally, I gave my money away to charity because I didn’t know you could buy things with it. Then my friends started saying, “Hey, Chance, you can buy things with money. Food, earrings, etc.” I was like, “Damn.” But then I checked my fridge, and I had plenty of food and earrings in there so I kept giving it all away.
5. What advice would you give to aspiring artists?
Carry a couple dead frogs in your pockets at all times. In the music industry, you might end up talking to one of your idols and get so nervous you freeze up and aren’t able to hold a conversation with them. When this happens, just whip out a dead frog, and all of a sudden everyone has something to say to you.