By Jennifer Zuccaro
Ever since The Recording Academy’s announcement that stream-only releases can now be considered for Grammy nominations, rap fans everywhere have been anxiously waiting to see if Chancelor Bennett, better known as Chance The Rapper, the unsigned artist from the West Chatham neighborhood of Chicago, might be able to add a few Grammys to his growing list of accomplishments.
Chance started receiving attention following the release of his second mixtape, “Acid Rap,” in 2013. His popularity grew steadily as a result of guest performances on shows including “The Late Show with Stephen Colbert” and “Saturday Night Live.” His performance on the latter made him the first unsigned artist to perform on the “SNL” stage.
He was also featured on a number of albums by popular artists and collaborated with Kanye West on his latest album, “The Life of Pablo,” which received praise from music critics.
In May 2016, the release of “Coloring Book,” a fusion of hip-hop and gospel music that received critical acclaim and debuted at No. 8 on the Billboard 200, was the first streaming-only record to crack the top 10 and catapulted the young Chicago native into stardom.
Since then, from headlining the Magnificent Coloring World Tour, to being featured in a Kit Kat commercial, it seems that Chance is well on his way to becoming among the most well-rounded artists.
It came as no surprise when Chance was nominated for seven Grammys, of which he won three: Best Rap Performance for “No Problem,” Best Rap Album for “Coloring Book” and Best New Artist for which he had to beat out stiff competition like The Chainsmokers.
Other big winners of the night included Adele, who won all five of her nominations, including Album of the Year for “25” and Song of the Year for “Hello,” and Drake, whose “Hotline Bling” earned him wins in both the Best Rap Song and Best Rap/Sung Collaboration categories.
In spite of Chance’s success, he has never failed to remain humble. When accepting the Grammy for Best New Artist, Chance, a devout Christian, opened and closed his speech with the same line: “I claim this victory in the name of the Lord.”
Chance took the stage to perform one of his more gospel-sounding songs, “How Great,” which included featured singers Kirk Franklin, Francis and the Lights and Tamela Mann, along with an entire gospel choir, all dancing vigorously while praising God.
His modest nature only makes it that much easier for the rest of us to bask in the glory of his successes because during a time when it seems as though the bad always triumphs over the good, it is therapeutic to watch good things happen to a great person.