Chance The Rapper was a big winner in 2016, and has continued his winning ways throughout 2017. A big part of the wins he’s been stacking lately is the success of his Coloring Book project, a project that combines religious themes, gospel music and hip-hop in a way few, if any, projects had before it. But don’t label Chance a Christian rapper.
That’s a point Chano made quite clear in his recent interview for his Teen Vogue cover story. During a conversation—which was had between himself and Get Out director Jordan Peele—that covered everything from his creative processes to his relationship with former Commander-in-Chief Barack Obama, the rapper made clear his disdain for labels.
“One of my biggest fears with Coloring Book was that it would be labeled. I hate labels,” Chano explained. “I never sought out for people to recognize it as a gospel album. I don’t make Christian rap, but I am a Christian rapper. When I was going out and trying to fully give glory to God, in my setting, I feared that people would be dismissive of it, like, ‘This is Christian rap, I’m not trying to hear it.’ But it’s the total opposite: People were very accepting of it. Whether they say, ‘I’m an atheist, but I love Coloring Book’ or they say, ‘I’m so glad I was able to get closer to God through this project,’ people had formed opinions about what I put into the world. I think that’s always the goal of art, is to make people ask themselves questions. Like Get Out!”
So there you have it: Chano is always representing the most high, but don’t pigeonhole him into one section. He clearly doesn’t fit into any box you can find.
During the interview, Chance also spoke about what it’s like working with Kanye. “Insanity. He’s very big on multitasking,” says Chano. “We’ll have a studio rented out, and he’ll bounce between rooms working on different songs, writing for a second or adding or subtracting productions. He’ll also put a bunch of people in a room that he thinks might have good ideas and try to see what they come up with. I remember one night we had a lady who produced the Lego film, a bunch of coding people, and a magician all in a room together trying to figure out how they could make him disappear onstage. I don’t know if he ever figured that sh*t out! [Laughs] Twenty-five percent of it is productive ideas flowing and then 75 percent is lectures from Kanye, where he tells you exactly how he views the world—just very straight Kanye honesty that definitely gets your creativity and strong opinions out on the floor. I think it helped me find myself. I’m a young dude from Chicago who grew up with Kanye as my image of hip-hop. Finding your voice in a room where you have to challenge Kanye is scary—but it’s also life-affirming.”