Music

39 things (and counting) that prove Chance the Rapper is winning 2016

39 things (and counting) that prove Chance the Rapper is winning 2016

As a local music reporter, nothing has been more fun and gratifying than watching Chicago take over this year, and no person exemplifies that more than Chance the Rapper. It goes without saying that the 23-year-old Chatham native has exceeded even the highest of expectations, helping shape Kanye West’s “The Life of Pablo,” releasing “Coloring Book,” his third mixtape, and surprising everyone along the way with some unorthodox moves that solidified his place not just as one of the most innovative artists but also as one of the most innovative marketers of his own music.

In honor of Magnificent Coloring Day, Chance's attendance record-breaking one-day music festival with acts like Skrillex, Lil Wayne and Alicia Keys, which happens Saturday at U.S. Cellular Field, I've compiled a list of all the cool things he's done in 2016. Because Chance has done a metric shit-ton of awesome things this year, it’s easy to forget some. 

1. Jan. 21

After a triumphant end to 2015, which included Chance debuting new song "Somewhere In Paradise" on "Saturday Night Live" and also becoming the first independent artist to play the show ever, he hops straight into the studio. In this clip, which he posted on Snapchat, Chance previews what will become "No Problem" from the Chicago Recording Company.

2. Jan. 24

Radio personality Big Boy posts an Instagram teasing another collaboration between Chance and Kanye West. The internet unsurprisingly loses its collective mind.

3. Feb. 11

At West's Tidal streaming event for the debut of his new album, it is revealed that Chance appears on the first track, "Ultralight Beam." 

4. Feb. 13

It turns out that the collaboration was bigger than we all thought. So much so that Chance single-handedly delays West's release of "The Life of Pablo." West tweets, "It’s Chance's fault the album not out yet… he really wanted Waves on that Bitch… we in the lab now.." To which Chance responds, "I make great decisions." To which we all think, "Thank you, Chance."

 

5. Feb. 13

Chance makes another appearance on "Saturday Night Live" as he joins West for a performance of "Ultralight Beam."

6. Feb. 16

"The Life of Pablo" credits are unveiled, and they show that Chance was involved in writing five (5!) of the tracks on the album. Not surprisingly, they're also the full-length's best.

7. Feb. 19

Street art from Nikko-L, aka Ali Six, pops up in Wicker Park showcasing cartoon depictions of Chance and West. It's adorable and awesome.

8. March 2

News breaks that Chance is teaming up with acts like Common and Regina Spektor to be on "The Hamilton Mixtape."

9. April 6

Chance is in talks to become the new ambassador for his favorite team, the Chicago White Sox. His voice narrates the Sox's intro video, and he introduces a new line of reimagined baseball hats meshing the ball club's logo with the Social Experiment's.

10. April 7

The long-awaited video for "Angels" drops. Directed by Austin Vesely, it features Chance riding a goddamned CTA car. Like the Vesely-directed visual for "Sunday Candy" was in 2015, "Angels" is the best music video of the year.

11. April 8

Headlining the Chicago Theatre, Chance and the Social Experiment deliver an incredible homecoming show.

12. April 11

Some goober at the New York Post writes a factually absent and racially gross article about Chance's music. Chance took the high road and didn't deem columnist Phil Mushnick worthy of a response, but if you want a counterpoint to Mushnick's word salad, here's what I wrote the next day.

13. April 15

Chance goes to the White House to meet with President Obama, along with artists like Nicki Minaj and J. Cole, to discuss the My Brother's Keeper initiative, which helps connect young men of color to support programs.

14. April 30

Artwork by Chicagoan Brandon Breaux for Chance's third mixtape is unveiled, and posters began to spread around the country in one of the most effective and grassroots marketing campaigns I've ever seen. Chance's face seemed like it was plastered on every bus stop, street corner and billboard in Chicago. 

15. May 4

On "The Tonight Show with the clown who tousled Donald Trump's hair" (Jimmy Fallon), Chance is joined by Jamila Woods as they debut "Blessings," which will appear on "Coloring Book."

16. May 11

In terms of people universally loved and deemed great role models, "Hamilton" creator Lin-Manuel Miranda shares the June/July cover story of Complex Magazine with Chance himself.

17. May 12

Chance releases "Coloring Book." I call it "the best album of the year so far" in my review, and I get a lot of hate from J. Cole fans who somehow didn't realize that Cole hadn't dropped a studio album since 2014.

18. May 19

On Joey Purp's song-of-the-summer-contending single "Girls@," Chance rhymes Ta-Nehisi Coates with SpottieOttieDope, and I almost throw my laptop out the window of the Tribune Tower in awe.

19. May 20

Surprising fans who have no clue what to expect, Chance creates a fully interactive, art-heavy world in a Goose Island warehouse to support "Coloring Book." Called "Magnificent Coloring World," the event serves as the inspiration for his new tour.

20. May 24

Making Zane Lowe the luckiest radio DJ ever, Chance plays him unreleased demos from his studio sessions with Kanye West.

21. May 26

Chance's first rap crew video drops. Directed by Vesely, it's their most bare-bones and fun collaboration yet. It features Lil Wayne, 2Chainz and DJ Khaled. 

22. June 3

It's revealed that Beck, who won the Album of the Year Grammy in 2015 for "Morning Phase," wanted Chance to guest on his new single "Wow."

23. June 9

"Coloring Book" has so many hits that Chance recorded a version of "Same Drugs" with Regina Goddamn Spektor and didn't include it on the album.

24. June 16

After he gathered his supporters to petition, Chance's efforts inspire the Grammys to finally change their rules, now allowing streaming releases to be eligible for awards.

25. July 2

Allegedly poor service and a racially charged dress code force Chance to start a beef with Whirlyball.

26. July 6

Joining Donnie Trumpet onstage for his joyous celebration of "Surf" songs at Taste of Chicago, Chance and the Social Experiment give legendary headliners the Roots some serious show competition.

27. July 14

At the ESPYs, Chance and the Social Experiment honor Muhammad Ali with a brand-new song.

28. July 22

Magnificent Coloring Day is announced.

29. July 26

The video for "Angels" scores a deserved VMA nomination.

30. July 31

Chance plays a not-so-secret show at Metro Chicago to close out Lollapalooza weekend. Malia Obama and Bryson Tiller are there, too.

31. Aug. 10

A new song from Chance appears in a hype video for USA Basketball in an Nike-sponsored Olympic promo.

32. Aug. 11

President Obama puts "Acid Rain" in his summer playlist.

33. Aug. 11

Billboard features Chance on its cover.

34. Aug. 15

As if late-night television wasn't enough, Chance wins over a ton of moms as he plays "Summer Friends" on Good Morning America.

35. Aug. 16

To conquer radio, Chance and his team launch rapperradio.com, where fans can press a button to request "No Problem" or "Summer Friends" on their local station.

36. Sept. 5

Chance sings happy birthday to Beyoncé and then later attends her Soul Train-themed birthday party.

37. Sept. 9

Chance dons his superhero cape and channels his inner Pearl Jam to take back thousands of tickets from the evil scalpers.

38. Sept. 13

The NAACP announces a partnership with Chance that'll bring voter registration to his Magnificent Coloring World tour.

39. Sept. 15

In what might be the best "Ellen" performance ever, Chance brings out 2Chainz and Lil Wayne to perform "No Problem" with a unique set design and some awesome choreography from Open Mike-alums The Future Kingz.

@joshhterry  |  jterry@redeyechicago.com

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