Chance The Rapper’s raw lyrics speak for Millennial generation

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Author: Keegan McChesney

When Chance The Rapper stops at Occidental as a part of his “Social Experiment” tour Saturday, courtesy of Programming Board, a fascinating convergence is set to take place between an explicit, drug-influenced rapper and a liberal arts college student body. While Occidental takes a scholarly approach, Chance uses artistic expression to bring social issues to light.

Chance, born Chancellor Bennet in 1993, is part of an emerging hip-hop culture in Chicago. Having released only releasing two mixtapes, Chance has already gained global recognition. His first mixtape, “10 Day,” was written in 2011 during a 10-day suspension from his high school. His second, the breakthrough mixtape “Acid Rap,” was highly influenced by the drug LSD. Lauded by multiple music magazines, Chance is evolving as a prominent voice of this generation.

The goal of “Acid Rap,” as stated by Chance in multiple interviews, is to ask philosophical questions and to look at the world in different ways. His one of a kind verses are formulated by cleverly combining lyrical insight with modern pop culture.

“What’s good, good/And what’s good, evil/And what’s good, gangstas/And what’s good, people/And why’s God’s phone die every time that I call on Him/If his son had a Twitter wonder if I would follow him,” reads the lyrics from his song “Everybody’s Somebody’s Everything.”

This verse poses philosophical questions but then juxtaposes those questions with a social media reference. It is this unique word use that allows Chance to connect with his youthful audience.

Students who attend Occidental wish to answer questions through the liberal arts approach. While one chose art and the other education, both Chance and Occidental students address issues of discrimination and social justice. At Occidental, students are taught a scholastic way of analyzing the world whereas Chance responds to it in a visceral way, as evidenced by the passionate and explicit nature of his lyrics.

Both Occidental and Chance also have a strong focus on social justice, equity and race issues. Chance has a way of bringing these issues to light through his catchy, creative lyricism. Many of his rhymes reflect his childhood, growing up in a low-income neighborhood on the South Side of Chicago.

“They merking kids, they murder kids here. Why you think they don’t talk about it? They deserted us here. Where the fuck is Matt Lauer at? Somebody get Katie Couric in here. Probably scared of all the refugees, look like we had a fucking hurricane here,” Chance raps in his song “Pusha Man/Paranoia.”

Chance is clearly outraged about the political and social neglect of his neighborhood and many others like it. Occidental students can learn from Chance how to frame social issues in ways that are both productive and emotionally engaging.

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