BERNARD: Chance for Spring Fling

Do you like to dance? Do you enjoy endless good vibes? Do you appreciate unique, unrivaled talent? If you answered yes to any of these questions, you’ll love Chance the Rapper. Even if you said no to all of these questions — well, I at least hope you like to dance — here’s why you should bring him to Spring Fling.

Last year, only a select few pockets of Yalies really knew Macklemore & Ryan Lewis when the Spring Fling Committee picked him. Many of you will find yourselves in the same position with regards to Chance. But as we saw, Macklemore rose in stature, and talent is talent. Once you get on the wave early, you can only ascend to higher heights. Chance is riding that wave, and I think we should be right up there with him.

Rolling Stone named him 2013’s “Hot MC.” Chance has an indescribable energy, a positive, energizing vibe that permeates through the audience. He is a stubborn perfectionist developing and honing his craft, putting out music that both challenges and rewards its listeners. He surrounds himself with great management, great production, and a close circle of friends that keep him humble and striving for more.

A meticulous wordsmith and creative prodigy, Chancellor Bennett hails from Chicago’s Southside, a home he reps fiercely and proudly. Chicago is one of Chance’s major inspirations for his music; he draws from Chicago’s deeply rooted Jazz influence and its startling socioeconomic reality. Very much aware of his circumstance, Chance invokes the passion of his city, and channels the energy into his art and performance. The culmination of his experiences come full force when he hits the stage.

Chance performed his first show in New York this summer, and it was easily one of my fondest memories of the year. As the clock snuck closer toward his set time, the buzz of energy in the crowd slowly gave way to a vocal uproar: “We want Chance! We want Chance!”

We were answered. Infectious church piano keys and booming bass screamed from the sound system as our eyes anxiously flitted about the room, searching for Chance. Then, after being escorted by a bodyguard, Chance all but skidded onto the set, and in one fluid motion began a resounding clap that we couldn’t help but mimic. Like the first track on his acclaimed mixtape, Acid Rap, this was the “Good A– Intro” we’d been waiting for, and he did not disappoint.

As the evening flew by, his frantic dancing, lyrical aptitude and charismatic personality kept the party going. For an hour straight, he masterfully engaged the crowd, teaching us how to “Zan” while delivering clever lyrical content with much deeper underlying meaning. The experience was exhilarating, honest, moving and powerful, all wrapped in a neat package of Chicago soul. My money was more than well spent.

Hundreds of thousands have experienced this phenomenon too, as Chance graced the stage of major concerts and festivals throughout the country — including South by Southwest and Lollapalooza. Chance has already performed with some of hip-hop’s most popular names, including Eminem, Kendrick Lamar, Childish Gambino, and most recently, with last year’s Spring Fling performers, Macklemore & Ryan Lewis. He has even worked with the likes of James Blake and Skrillex, showing his true appreciation for music of all different forms and a willingness to engage them.

“Acid Rap,” his second mixtape, was so successful that, unbeknownst to Chance, one clever scam artist decided to package and sell his free mixtape. The scam artist’s efforts led to the mixtape’s debut at number 63 on the Billboard’s Top R&B/Hip-Hop chart. Some standout tracks include the “Good A– Intro/Outro”, “Everybody’s Something”, and crowd-favorite “Cocoa Butter Kisses.”

So what warrants this craze over the 20-year-old phenom? Is it his charismatic youth in contest with his old, jazzed-out soul? Is it his social awareness, as he displayed by interning for Obama’s first campaign for President? Or maybe it’s his crowd-pleasing tendencies and his desire to rage in unity?

Whatever it is, we can use some of that flavor. So how about we make a little way for some Chicago soul in New Haven? Vote Chance the Rapper for Spring Fling. I promise you’ll dance, you’ll groove, and you’ll have a “Good A–” time. Isn’t that what Spring Fling is for? After all, everybody deserves a Chance.

Denzil Bernard is a junior in Silliman College. Contact him at denzil.bernard@yale.edu.

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