Story originally appeared for Chicago Sun Times.
The Chicago kid who released arguably the year’s hottest, free hip-hop album returns to town this week for his debut headlining tour, dubbed the “Social Experiment Tour.” For his first show home since he performed at Lollapalooza earlier this year, tickets to the first show sold out so fast that a second was quickly scheduled and just as quickly
“The whole thing has just been crazy,” said Chance during a break from rehearsal last month. “I definitely thought it might sell out, but not as fast as it did. The whole show is different from what we’ve done before, so it’ll be cool to show it to Chicago.”
Photo by Dan Allen
In less than a year, the Chatham native has transformed himself from a local rapper with a solid following into one of the most sought-after up-and-coming acts in music. At a recent gig at the Shrine in Chicago’s South Loop, Grammy-winning hip-hop producer 9th Wonder gushed to reporters about working with him.
“Chance came through the studios in North Carolina this summer when they were on tour with Mac Miller, and we played some records and listened to some stuff,” said 9th Wonder. “He actually listened to the beats we played for him and was coming up with ideas on the spot. We had a great time working with Chance and all those guys.”
Chance has done it all on his terms; independently, with a quirky, down-to-earth personality and sonically unique, genre-bending music he genuinely enjoys creating. As labels far and wide offered him a myriad of options in attempts to sign him this summer, Chance watched as “Acid Rap” hit No. 63 on Billboard, unprecedented for an indie artist releasing a free project on the Internet.
Regardless of all the accolades, the Bennett’s are just happy to have their son home for the holiday.
“Chance’s schedule has been really rough over the past year and a half, so the whole family is excited to have him home,” said his father, Ken Bennett. “Thanksgiving is very important to us so we’re all looking forward to getting him in town for a couple days before he’s back on the road.”
The week before leaving for tour, Chance and his tour team rented Metro for rehearsals. Perched atop the legendary stage, where he had one of his first sold-out headlining shows nearly a year ago, Chance pressed his hand to his head and looked at the floor, as if going over the events that lead him to the brink of his first headlining tour.
This week, his journey will come full circle with the pair of shows at the Riv.