The story is a bit longer than 2,000 words, but while I managed to get in plenty of details, there were many others that I just couldn't fit into the piece. Some of them were so great I decided to highlight them below. If you've already checked out the Chance feature and want to dig a little deeper into his world, read on:
Bennett met 22-year-old producer Stefan Ponce, his de facto live DJ, at a Metro show in 2011, but they didn't immediately click. "He asked me for some beats and apparently I just shrugged him off," Ponce says. That changed about a year ago when they reconnected while Bennett was working with Ponce's girlfriend, Chante Rene Linwood; Bennett and Ponce quickly became inseparable. "We literally saw each other every day," Ponce says. That's not quite possible these days—Ponce is working in LA—but they remain as close as family. "He's also gonna be the godfather of my kid," Ponce says. Ponce and Linwood's child is due in September.
I'm particularly fond of the neosoul-gone-juke sound of Acid Rap tune "Good Ass Intro," which Ponce says he started making with Peter Cottontale in Iowa. Ponce says he's pretty keen on the song's style as well. "Me and Peter were talking about doing a project like that," he says. "Just do like a soul-juke EP." If it sounds anything like "Good Ass Intro," count me in.
Part of the reason Bennett dropped out of Harold Washington after a week was due to his schedule. "It was just fucked-up cause I registered so late—like I decided to go to college so late—that I didn't have any real classes," he says. "I was just paying to go to community college to not even get any credit." Bennett says he went to one day of class. "I had a class called reading, that was my first class," he says. "It wasn't like an English credit, it was like, it was a class about. . . . I don't know what it was about."
Before he began managing Bennett, Patrick Corcoran briefly worked with Village MCs Dikembe Caston (aka Kembe X) and Alex Wiley, and Corcoran produced the video for a Village song called "Dollar Please." Caston, Wiley, and Bennett are friends and sometimes collaborators—they all appear on Wiley's "Mo Purp"—and Bennett gives them a shout-out on "Juice."
Bennett speaks fondly of the elderly woman from his block he grew up with, and mentions her and another neighbor on a cut off last year's #10Day, "Hey Ma": "Ms. Brown and Ms. Polleck, little boy done grown up." Bennett goes into more detail about his relationships with those two women in a verified annotation on the song's page at controversial hip-hop lyrics site Rap Genius.
Bennett was an official artist at this year's South by Southwest, which was a first for him, but it wasn't his first time at the festival. His first trek down was last year; he was 18 and hadn't yet released a mixtape under the name Chance the Rapper. Bennett's parents bought him a single ticket for an Amtrak ride down to Austin, and he says it was one of the first times he was ever really on his own. He was alone for quite some time—Bennett says the train trip took more than 20 hours. "[At] fuckin' 18, an hour feels like three days," he says. "It was one of the worst moments of transportation for me ever. . . . It also kind of shows how important that shit was for me."