RED Hearts: Chance The Rapper

Chance_The_Rapper_Acid_RapRED Hearts are guest posts on I Heart Daily from the authors ofRED: Teenage girls in America write on what fires up their lives today. Today’s RED Hearts post is from RED author Zoe Mendelson, 23, in Brooklyn, who's about to tell you about her former pupil, Chance the Rapper:

I have to say, I’m definitely a little biased about Chance the Rapper. Because if I can brag for a sec, I did introduce him to Wu-Tang Clan back when Chance the Rapper was a chubby little prepubescent rabble rouser. I was his tutor in high school, which was an exhausting job because Chance would always just say, “I don’t need to do this shit. I’m gonna be a famous rapper.” Turns out he was right.

But along with my bias, I also happen to know that Chance the Rapper is changing the face of rap right now, and that his mixtape Acid Rap is one of the top five best hip hop albums of the last decade. I know this for a fact. Because it’s objectively true. If you have any doubts, listen to it. It’s free:

Okay, so why is Chance so good? Well first of all, two words: JUKE. BEATS. You probably don’t know what juke is, but I didn’t know any single other kind of dance music existed until I was 18. (I’m proud about this, not embarrassed.) Juke is a subset of Chicago house music, with the best dance beats that exist. It's the original twerking, but way way, way cooler. Check it out if you’re interested, “go ahead lil mamma”.

Anyway, Chance brings juke beats in, and soul samples back, with a little bit of funk and a little bit of jazz and a lot of acid and the result... Well, just go listen to it.

His lyrics are funny and startlingly honest. "Pusha Man" is, in both my biased and unbiased opinion, a moment in hip hop. The first part is the classic brag rap, glorifying the life of a drug dealer. The second part is a realistic picture of drug-dealing kids whose moms still do their laundry and whose own guns terrify them. In the third part, Chance hauntingly sings, “I know you scared, you should ask us if we scared too. I know you scared. Me too.”

It’s a multidimensional exploration of a marginalized existence that’s almost always flattened in the media. Chance isn’t afraid to get complicated, and he isn’t afraid to get dark.

Also, Chance isn’t signed, and that is seriously exciting. Talk about #NewRules. Chance is an original, creating a culture of rebellious drunken-monkey style brilliance exactly as he sees fit. It's raw and real and untainted. He’s on tracks with Lil Wayne and Bieber and James Blake and whoever the hell else he wants to be on tracks with. Watch Chance and you’re watching the future of the music industry. Oh, and his music videos are pretty incredible, too.