CHICAGO (CBS) — Now a winner of three Grammy Awards, Chance the Rapper grew up in the West Chatham neighborhood on Chicago’s South Side, and started performing when he was only 4 years old.
With pride, his father, Ken Bennett, showed off videos of a young Chancellor Bennett. He is equally proud of Chance the Rapper.
“It’s very exciting. It’s almost surreal,” he said. “It’s always a great thing when you can see your kids achieving their goals and their dreams.”
Just 23, Chance’s list of achievements was long even before winning his first three Grammys.
He performed a Christmas concert at the White House last year, is a national spokesman for Kit Kat chocolate bars, and has been a featured guest on prime time talk shows like The Late Show with Stephen Colbert.
Chance also has partnered with a Detroit charity, The Empowerment Plan, to create heavy-duty winter coats to donate to the homeless. Each coat is sewn by women hired from shelters. The coats feature Velcro bags on the interior that can be pulled out to be used as a full sleeping bag. The Empowerment Plan has distributed 10,000 coats to the homeless since 2013.
In a recent interview with GQ magazine, Chance said “It’s a beautiful time in my life.”
That life began in a tough South Side neighborhood: West Chatham. His experiences have been reflected in many of his lyrics.
The root of Chance’s rap stems from his family’s love for music.
“My wife, Lisa, always played great music in the house and it was very diverse. You’d have gospel, jazz. I’m an old jazz guy. I’m a Billie Holiday, Sam Cook guy,” his father said.
Chance’s brother, Taylor, also was bitten by the rap bug.
“He’s a great guy,” Taylor said. “Growing up as kids, we were always extremely close. He used to keep me out of trouble. He used to make sure that I got home on time. He used to make sure that I was doing my homework.”
Chance graduated from one of the best high schools in the city, Jones College Prep.
Principal Joseph Powers said it’s a thrilling experience to see Chance win three Grammys.
“I think the whole school community is excited about it, and certainly a lot of people in the Chicago area are noticing our school as a result in being the school that Chance graduated from,” he said.
Chance’s high school counselor, Latoya Hudson Spells, said she always knew he was talented.
“He had a following. You know, students listened to him. Students were excited about his music,” she said.
To this day, his music is written, directed, produced, and streamed to the internet all from Chicago.
Chance already has started working on his next project in Chicago.
Meanwhile, his brother, Taylor, is hosting a fundraiser for the AIDS Foundation on February 24. That’s when Taylor will release his mix tape.