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Learn More About Chance The Rapper's Artistic — and Often God-inspired — Discography
Chance The Rapper, a Grammy Award-winning artist from Chicago, has garnered billions of listens through his streaming-only music.
Grammy Award-winning artist Chance the Rapper joins Coaches Blake Shelton, Kelly Clarkson, and Niall Horan as one of the newest additions on Season 23 of The Voice. It comes as little surprise given the Chicago artist’s incredible accolades — in fact, former U.S. President Barack Obama even him “an outstanding role model.”
Chance was still a high school senior in 2011 when he began creating his breakout mixtape album, 10 Day, precipitated by his 10-day suspension from school. The online demand for his second 2013 mixtape, Acid Rap, practically broke the internet and led to mobs of new fans meeting him in high school parking lots, prompting police to ban Chance from multiple premises, according to Pitchfork.
What separated Chance from other talented artists was that he has never signed to a label, opting instead to stream his music for free. This made him the first streaming-only musician to earn a trifecta of Grammys in 2017, including Best New Artist, Best Rap Performance, and Best Rap Album upon releasing his third, gospel-steeped mixtape, Coloring Book (hence his signature “3” hat he wears on The Voice). By 2019, the album surpassed more than 1.5 billion streams on Spotify alone.
Chance continues to share his artistic endeavors, including his upcoming multidisciplinary art project Star Line Gallery. He is also the founder of Socialworks, a non-profit organization aimed at empowering Chicago’s youth through arts and civic engagement, according to its website. You can read more about his iconic career here.
But let’s take a look back at some of his greatest tracks — including his Christian-themed singles — which helped shaped the singer's impressive career.
From Chance’s skyrocket mixtape Coloring Book, “Angels” peaked at #4 on Billboard’s R&B and Hip-Hop charts and made the Top 20 on its Hot 100 singles. The 2016 record features fellow Chicagoan Saba, whom Chance met when they were still teenagers on the city’s open-mic circuit, according to The Fader. The duo had history, including Saba’s musical contributions to “Everybody’s Something” from Chance’s mixtape Acid Rap.
“The way that Chance works is really inspiring and generous,” Lido said in a 2016 interview. “He’s found this incredible way of collaborating with people and including a lot of creative minds in all his projects. The way we worked together, it felt like a jam session, coming up with cool things and then organizing it later.”
2. "No Problem"
Featuring big-time artists 2 Chainz and Lil Wayne, Coloring Book's “No Problem” spent 26 weeks on the Billboard Hot 100 charts, peaking at #43. The single was featured in many best music lists, including Rolling Stone, which listed the track as one of the best songs for 2016.
“This streaming-only star sounds like he’s giving an ultimatum to the record industry,” said Rolling Stone. “But the gospel choir in the background makes it feel more like an ecstatic celebration of his blessings.”
The album itself gained a legion of devoted followers, with NPR noting that though it wasn't "a complete gospel album," it was "certainly praiseworthy."
“No Problem” led to Chance’s Best Rap Performance Grammy win and earned him a nomination for Best Rap Song.
3. "I’m the One"
Chance and Canadian pop star Justin Bieber first collaborated in 2013 for the song “Confident,” but it was their featured teamwork on the 2017 DJ Khaled single “I’m the One” that reached #1 on the Billboard 100 charts. Quavo and Lil Wayne also sang as part of the track, completing what Billboard called an “epic squad.”
According to DJ Khaled, he contacted Chance while the artist was at an oceanfront studio in Malibu, California, inviting him to collaborate on the song, which had recently been recorded by DJ Khaled, Bieber, and Quavo (in the same studio where Michael Jackson recorded “Thriller”). Chance said he’d be honored to bring something to the table.
“I’m playing the record, and he started meeting you, like catching a vibe,” said DJ Khaled. “He was vibin’. He immediately jumped in the booth and put a bunch of ideas down.”
4. "Child of God"
Chance identifies as a Christian and says his religious beliefs can be found in much of his music, such as 2022’s “Child of God.”
“I don’t make Christian rap, but I am a Christian rapper,” Chance said in a 2017 interview with Teen Vogue. “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.”
Speaking on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, Chance said his 2021 trip to Ghana inspired him to write the solo — Chance’s first for 2022. He and Ghanaian-American singer Moses Sumney recorded the track overseas, a song later exhibited in Chicago’s Museum of Contemporary Art alongside a painting by Ghanaian visual artist Naïla Opiangah.
In fact, several of Chance’s artistic collaborative works would be found as part of his upcoming interdisciplinary project, Star Line Gallery, including exhibitions at the Los Angeles Museum of Contemporary Art (for “YAH Know” ft. King Promise), Art Basel (for “The Highs & The Lows” ft. Joey Bada$$), and the Art Institute of Chicago (for “A Bar About a Bar”).
On his Instagram, Chance wrote the “Child of God” was “about confidence, purpose, and process.”
5. "Cocoa Butter Kisses"
One of Chance’s most beloved singles came from his second mixtape album, Acid Rap, the 2013 follow-up to his debut mixtape, 10 Day. Featuring Vic Mensa and Twista, “Cocoa Butter Kisses” was written for an album produced during a time of drug experimentation, as he opened up about in a 2016 GQ profile called “How Chance the Rapper’s Life Became Perfect.”
“I was just doing a lot of drugs, just hanging out,” the musician admitted. “I was gone all the time.”
GQ called Acid Rap “the bratty, beatific record that helped make him famous among rap fans and actual rappers, a guy who Kanye West would share festival bills with and later invite to the studio to work on The Life of Pablo.”
Thanks to his grandmother’s intervention and prayer — and later having children of his own — Chance no longer uses recreational substances. However, “Cocoa Butter Kisses” still lives in the hearts of his most loyal followers.
Another collab between Chance and Bieber was “Holy,” a Top-10 hit on the Billboard charts that boasts more than 700 million listens on Spotify. In 2020, the single — which the New York Times called “devotional R&B” — peaked at #3 and spent 25 weeks on the Billboard charts.
The star-studded and inspirational music video is about a down-and-out oil driller (Bieber) and his compassionate partner (Ryan Destiny), forced to leave their home. It ends with a devoted father and U.S. Army Vet (played by Wilmer Valderrama) bringing the recently-unhoused couple into his home, a music video first shared across the artists’ social media.
“I made one of my most important songs with one of my most supportive friends, and I really want y’all to hear it tonight when it drops,” Chance posted on his Instagram. “I know this record will make you feel something, and I know that feeling is love.”
Chance concluded the post by saying, “This is the beginning of a new era for all of us. God is love, peace.”