Chance is the fully realized Kanye disciple

Chancellor Bennet was a child when Kanye West’s debut The College Dropout shook the music world in 2003. Like many post-90s musicians, Chance the Rapper has not shied away from his admiration of Mr. West, naming his latest tour off the heartwarming penultimate track on Kanye’s first album. And just like he’s done with young artists throughout his career, Kanye gave Chance an opportunity to shine on the first track of his latest album The Life of Pablo. And because Chance is great, he shined.

This shouldn’t be surprising since one of Kanye’s greatest strengths is his ability to inspire the best from his collaborators. It isn’t a coincidence that Paul Wall’s, Rick Ross’s, Nicki Minaj’s, Common’s, The Game’s, Lupe Fiasco’s, and Jay Z’s best verses all appear on Kanye-produced music. And on his most recent album, he finds the best out of modern hitmakers Fetty Wap, Ty Dolla $ign, Post Malone, Chris Brown, The Weeknd, and the aforementioned Mr. Bennet. Of course, Chance probably didn’t need the Kanye co-sign to inspire greatness, because of all the disciples Kanye has groomed throughout the years, Chance the Rapper has become the first one to transcend his apprenticeship.

But what happened to the other ones?

 

LUPE FIASCO 

Contribution: A rollicking guest spot on Late Registration’s Touch The Sky.”

Result: A really good debut album with one of the most original singles of the aughts. A pretty good second album with a top-40 hit. Two subsequent terrible albums, followed by a resurgence with 2015’s Tetsuo and Youth

Verdict: Unclear, but it’s looking like wasted potential. Lupe has been one of the best lyricists over the past decade, but poor production and a bad relationship with his record company has kept him a mostly irrelevant musician.

 

KID CUDI

Contribution: Writing credits on 808s and Heartbreak, guest spots throughout Kanye’s discography, most notably on My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy’s “Gorgeous.”

Result: A rabid fanbase amongst marijuana enthusiasts. A decent debut album and a string of disappointing releases.

Verdict: He’s not boring! But he’s also not good.

 

BIG SEAN 

Contribution: Guest spot on G.O.O.D. Friday releases “See Me Now” and “Mercy.”

Result: Top-40 success, a platinum-certified album, Ariana Grande.

Verdict: The most articulate and vanilla rapper on the radio.

 

PUSHA T

Contribution: Guest spots on “Mercy” and “Runaway.”

Result: Mainstream relevance, tastemaker label, successor to Kanye as president of G.O.O.D. music.

Verdict: Pusha T had a solid underground career before Kanye snatched him up, though the near-future seems bright for the veteran.

 

CHIEF KEEF

Contribution: The hook on Yeezus’s “Hold My Liquor.”

Result: Hoo boy, only bad things.

Verdict: Chiraq’s megaphone, and probably prison eventually.

 

CHANCE THE RAPPER 

Contribution: Guest verse on “Ultralight Beam,” Kanye’s best song in years.

Result: I don’t know, man, the album’s not even a week old.

Verdict: A bright future filled with sunshine and trumpets.

If his talent is any indication, Chance may soon become as beloved and acclaimed as Kanye once was. In the meantime, he’s still a fledgling with two mixtapes and a tight backing band that released the best song of 2015. He’s a soulful dude with a poetic heart and a talent for crooning that Kanye’s always yearned for.

Chance’s verse on “Ultralight Beam” finally felt like a passing of the torch when the Social Experiment’s Donnie Trumpet’s signature brass fluttered into Channo’s space. It was the a perfect garnish to the album’s sublime opener, affirming the sound that Chance and his band have spread beyond Chicago’s turbulent South Side. If and when Kanye decides he’s done, Chicago rap will be left in capable hands. We’ll be getting some good-ass music either way.

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