Chance The Rapper, born Chancelor Jonathan Bennett, hails from the city of Chicago. He went to Jones College Prep High School, even though he was often not even there.
You see, he didn’t do very well as a student.
“I wasn’t really good at high school or getting good grades and shit,” he told Pitchfork. “And at that point, I wasn’t going to graduate. I was looking at my life and just like, ‘Who am I supposed to be?’”
And this struggle and tension as a highschooler would eventually inspire his first album.
“My parents always wanted me to go to college,” he said. “I got suspended a lot, but senior year I got suspended for smoking weed right before spring break, which was sick because I had three weeks in a row off.”
And during that suspension in 2011, he finished and announced the release of his debut mixtape, 10 Day. He took that seemingly negative thing — a suspension — and turned it into a career-starter, a launching pad.
It was bound to happen at some point. His parents were very musical, listening to gospel and jazz, like Billie Holiday and Sam Cook. For Chance, Michael Jackson was a huge influence — apparently, he exclusively listened to MJ up until fifth grade.
And he had been rapping since the sixth or seventh grade, inspired by his cousin, rapper Chef Sean. He remembers how his family was not so keen about the rap world, and how, despite that, he would “sneak to [Chef Sean’s] crib and record” throughout grade school and high school.
And those times he snuck out to make music would prove to pay off.