Chancelor Bennett was born on April 16, 1993 in Chicago. Early on in his childhood, he became obsessed with soul, jazz, and rap music. But his teachers ridiculed his aspirations. So naturally, he rebelled, and began running with the wrong crowd.
During his senior year of high school, Chancelor was busted for possession of marijuana and got a 10-day suspension.
Grounded at home, the young rapper hit a new low, but used the time to record a mixtape entitled “10 Day.” The underground project, which was full of sex and drug references, got him noticed by many music industry heavyweights.
To cope with his new-found acclaim, Chancelor’s life spiraled into a dependency on drugs and alcohol. By 18, he was a addicted to Xanax. His grandmother intervened, but to no avail, and eventually his father kicked him out of the house.
After witnessing one of his close friends get killed, Chancelor sought amends with his family. And within six months, he was sober. He also recognized that he was being protected by a higher power, and his faith inspired him to make another mixtape—but this time, he would replace the sex and drugs references with themes of God, love, his hometown of Chicago, and dance.
He rented out a small studio and invited a slew of producers, vocalists, a choir and an orchestra to contribute to his new, more inspired effort. The lyrics became jam-packed with scriptures and boasting of God’s blessings.
His independent project, which was released in May 2016 under the name Coloring Book, took the most recent Grammys by storm, racking up three awards, and defeating the likes of Kanye West, Drake and DJ Khaled for best rap album.
In the process, “Chance the Rapper” made history, becoming the first unsigned artist in America to ever win a Grammy, as well as the first artist to win without selling a single physical copy of his music.