By Natalie Pertsovsky
Chance the Rapper, the Chicago native who rose to prominence with his 2013 album Acid Rap, has a penchant not only for music, but also for art. At a March 5 Museum of Contemporary Art talk, he told the audience about his personal art collection, which includes works by Michael Jackson and Hebru Brantley.
Chance spoke about his favorite artists, upcoming projects, and Social Works, his non-profit. The sold-out event, moderated by journalist Adrienne Samuels Gibbs, was part of In Sight Out, a conversation series “exploring new perspectives in music, art, and culture," co-sponsored by the MCA and Pitchfork.
Throughout the conversation, Chance was honest, genuine, and entertaining. He didn’t shy away from any questions, even those that were difficult to answer, and seemed truly engaged with the audience. His motto for the night? “Let’s keep it 1,000.”
“In my house, I’ve got quite a few Hebru Brantley’s,” he told the audience. Additionally, Chance's best friend and manager, Pat Corcoran, gave him an original Michael Jackson drawing just days before the talk.
Growing up, Chance idolized MC Hammer, Dave Chappelle, and Kanye West. “I adored them and studied them,” he said. “I wanted my path to look a lot like theirs.” It’s safe to say that Chance has traveled his own, extremely successful path. Today, he counts Chappelle and West among his good friends.
Speaking about West, Chance told a story that epitomizes what it is like to work with the artist. When recording, West apparently rents out the entirety of the studio, allowing him and his team to work on multiple projects at once.
“There was a whole room full of people on laptops… I don’t know what they were doing,” Chance explained. “I met one lady who worked on the LEGO movie and she was talking to, get this, a magician. They were talking about how to make Kanye disappear during a show.”
When asked if he’s working with West on anything, Chance was evasive. The most he would give us was: “Uhhhhhhhh.... I guess!"
He was more straightforward about a potential collaboration with Donald Glover. “We did link up in Atlanta not that long ago and started working on some tracks and they’re amazing,” Chance said. “The truth is that me and Donald perpetuated the story of a mixtape for a long time without ever working on it,” he revealed to the audience.
He also spoke about his recent foray into the acting world. Chance hosted Saturday Night Live in November, calling it a “dream.” Two sketches he wrote, Steve Harvey’s “Family Feud” and “Batman Thanksgiving,” made it to air. Although, he said, Kevin Hart did a similar Batman sketch for his own episode two weeks later, making changes that Chance didn’t approve of. “Maybe I’m just upset and I hope I get back on SNL ‘cause I’m still trying to do the host and performance thing,” he joked. “I don’t have a problem with K- Hart… but I had to get that shit off my chest, yo,” Chance told the audience.
Chance reflected on the methodology behind acting. He especially enjoys the process of connecting with and finding a meaningful script. “But, on the other side, actually acting is super whack. You sit in a trailer all day… it’s extremely hot… and you basically pretend to be somebody on camera for three different angles for four hours at a time,” he continued. “I really like the initial excitement I get off of attaching myself to a project, but about four hours in I’m usually like… I quit,” Chance laughed. He is starring in the upcoming horror movie, “Slice,” release date TBD.
In addition to entertainment, Chance dedicated a big portion of the talk to Chicago and his non- profit, SocialWorks. Chance gave his thoughts on Rahm Emanuel and the upcoming gubernatorial election.
Following the vote on the recent Chicago Public School (CPS) closings, he said he felt “cheated, angry, [and] vengeful.” On endorsing a candidate in the upcoming election, Chance said, “they need to schedule a meeting with me, tell me what you’re really about.” Although some have pushed for it, “I’m not trying to be a politician, but I’ll stand with who that is and has that voice,” he said.
Even though Chance anticipates traveling more as his career continues to grow, his heart is in Chicago. “I’m gonna live in Chicago until the day I die,” Chance said. “I may go away a bit and tour but I’ll always come back and lobby for y’all,” he promised.