On Sunday night, Chancelor Bennett, more commonly known as Chance the Rapper, used his worship-filled performance to bring Jesus to the center of an awards show known for anything but its spiritual influence. After winning three Grammys this week—Best New Artist, Best Rap Album, and Best Rap Performance—the number “3” on his trademark flat bill hat seems nearly prophetic. And if you weren’t listening to his words before, you might want to start now.
The 23-year-old Chicago native began his career by recording his first aptly-named mixtape 10 Day, during a ten-day suspension from high school. With the mild success garnered from this effort, he went on to release Acid Rap, a mixtape showcasing his broader musical talent. The release of his third mixtape, Coloring Book, finally established Chance as a member of the popular music scene. This mixtape features worship-infused rap music describing the life of a young man learning about himself and his relationship with God. But the unpredictable path he took through the music industry makes the story from suspension to success even more remarkable.
After Acid Rap, a mixtape full of content reflecting its title, Chance experienced a complete U-turn when his grandma prayed over him, saying: “Lord, I pray that all things that are not like You, You take away from Chance. Make sure that he fails at everything that is not like You. Take it away. Turn it into dust,” he told GQ.
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