Why can’t “rapper” be synonymous with “good guy?” To many, those two titles are usually at odds. Chance The Rapper aka Beyoncé’s nephew is on the cover of GQ, proving that you can be a rapper and a good guy all at the same time. Sure, there are other rappers that demonstrate this. Common. Drake. Believe it or not, Kanye West used to embody this idea. But there is no one more likeable and loveable right now than Chance.
In the feature, Chance talks about his mentor Kanye, his love of frozen yogurt, writing poetry for his high school crush and pretty much just leans hard into his good guy persona.
“I’m okay if the story seems boring to people because I’m a good guy. I’m cool with that. I’d be cool with people remembering me as a good, boring dude. As long as people say good. You know? I want to be the good guy. And sometimes the good guy sounds like a lame thing. But the good guy, in what I’ve seen happen so far, the good usually wins.”
Forget singling out rap artists, how many musicians would want their legacy to be that of the “good, boring dude?” I wouldn’t call Chance boring but he’s Obama-approved and that time my mom heard me listening to Coloring Book, she literally said, “this boy sounds like he loves his mother.” He does. He praises his parents multiple times in the piece. He’s 23 and he DGAF that you know that he misses living at home with his mom and dad. Aside from his parents, Chance credits Kanye West as his biggest influence but clarifies one important detail:
“I don't think I ever wanted to be like Kanye in personality. Kanye says crazier sh-t in private than he does in public, which is hard to believe because he says the craziest things in public… But Kanye’s said some crazy sh-t to me where I respond, “No, I don’t feel you at all. I always wanted to be more of a person that people enjoy.”
There’s that likeability thing again. Being liked is important to Chance. There are many reasons why Kanye is not liked – saying “crazy sh-t” is one of those reasons. Categorizing Kanye as “crazy” makes me uncomfortable, especially after recent events, but I do love what Chance is saying here. Chance is from Chicago. Kanye West is basically his Michael Jordan. He calls him the, “best poet in the world” and “the freshest-dressed in the world.” Chance idolizes Kanye and yet, when he’s in a room with Kanye and Kanye is probably letting Chance down by spewing nonsense, he is able to stand up to him and say “nah, Kanye. I don’t feel you.” Oh, to be a fly on the wall for those conversations.
Like Kanye, awards matter to Chance. He’s nominated for SEVEN Grammys and he’s not even signed to a label. Here’s how Chance explains what the Grammys mean to him.
“I think the Grammys are super important to music. As a musician, I think it’s the same thing as an actor receiving an Oscar. Do I think that the Grammys are always fully representative of a person’s talent? No. Just like Leonardo DiCaprio didn’t get an Oscar until this past year. And he’s been doing his f-cking thing. But I think everybody wants validation, everybody wants to feel like they did right. And I think the nominations are my victory.”
It bothers me that Leonardo DiCaprio has become the poster boy for getting jilted for an Oscar he long deserved, like last year was way too late for Leo to win one. For another month, Viola Davis will still not have an Oscar so calm down on the Leo love everyone. Anyway, I’ll give Chance a pass because he’s 23 and he’s probably seen The Departed six times. The point about the Grammys being “validation” is a great one. They can all pretend they don’t do it for the awards but who doesn’t want to feel validated? To have the title “Grammy-award winning artist” means that you’ve officially made it. I want this for Chance so bad.
Chance is so nice and so good that even now, as we say goodbye to the Obamas and search for reasons to get out of bed in the morning, Chance is still optimistic. He says he isn’t afraid of Trump’s America (keep in mind, this interview was conducted before yesterday’s horrifying press conference):
“People are raising their kids to be more and more knowledgeable and understanding. I would say the main reason not to be afraid is that I’m making music for your kids now. I’m coming so clean-cut with the message of hope and understanding, and the Word, that it’s like: What could you be fearful of?”
Spoken like a true Good Guy. If you at least want to pretend like everything is OK, spend 3 minutes watching Chance take you inside his recording studio.