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kottke.org posts about Chance the Rapper

17-year-old Chance the Rapper Performing at a Public Library

posted by Jason Kottke   May 02, 2019

One of the places where Chance the Rapper got his start was at YOUmedia, a youth center at the Harold Washington Library in downtown Chicago. In this video, a 17-year-old Chance performs “Nostalgia”, a song that later appeared on his first mixtape. In this 2013 interview, Chance explained how performances like that helped him as an artist:

Another big launch pad for me was YOUmedia. YOUmedia is a sick ass spot. It’s downtown [Chicago] and it’s a youth center, but it’s a part of Harold Washington Library. The entire first floor, if you go to Harold Washington Library, there’s a sick-ass fucking student center, but it’s city funded. The majority of the dope, young artists that are in Chicago came out of that bitch. I came out of there, Vic Mensa, Nico from Kids These Days. So a lot of different people came out of there. You can learn music theory there, they have production software classes, you can take engineering classes, DJ classes.

“The big thing was the open mic. They used to have this open mic there every Wednesday that we would all go to, and it was from 5 to 7 every Wednesday. It would literally be 200 people in there and it was me performing. This was last year, when I was making #10Day. 200 people would come out to see us perform, 200 kids. The list would be super-fucking full, 30 kids trying to perform different poetry pieces, people coming up there footworking and breakdancing, doing standup, singing and rapping, just doing crazy shit.

“It was a really ill thing because it was smack in the center of downtown, so anybody from any school could come there because every train comes to the loop [downtown]. I met damn near all the producers on #10Day through this library. It was the spot. I’m too old now. I don’t go there anymore, but I used to literally go there until after I turned 18, for a minute.”

See also The Notorious B.I.G. freestyling on a corner in Bed-Stuy at 17, 17-year-old LL Cool J playing a Maine gymnasium, and the Beastie Boys rapping “Cookie Puss” in 1983 (when Ad-Rock was only 17).

Stephen Colbert connects Chance the Rapper & Childish Gambino to the Lord of the Rings

posted by Jason Kottke   Aug 30, 2018

Stephen Colbert is a *huge* J.R.R. Tolkien nerd. When Rolling Stone asked the late night host to break a song down, he chose “Favorite Song” by Chance the Rapper (feat. Childish Gambino) and connected a verse in it to both Gilbert & Sullivan and Lord of the Rings.

Whether or not you know it, Chance and Childish, you wrote a song that includes in it this really kind of rare rhyme and rhythm scheme that Tolkien used in the poem that actually influences all of the rest of Lord of the Rings.

I wonder about the “rare” bit though…rappers packing songs with internal rhymes is not a new thing nor is referencing Gilbert & Sullivan in hip-hop. Still, this is superbly nerdy. (via craig)