Chicago rapper, Chance the Rapper, born Chancelor Bennett, recently sat down for an interview with Katie Couric for Yahoo Global News. Bennett has been riding the wave of music industry success and critical acclaim. Recently, the rapper became the first artist to win a Grammy Award without having released a physical copy. He won 3 Grammy Awards for his streaming-only album, Coloring Book – Best Rap Performance, Best New Artist and Best Rap Album.
In the interview, Bennett introduces Couric to a Chicago staple, Harold’s Chicken Shack, which is a local favorite. In the very candid and heartwarming interview, Couric asks Bennett about the steady rise of his career and how he was able to pull it all off without financial backing from a record label. They also discuss his rise to fame and how a few chance meetings with Barack Obama, fellow Chicago rapper, Kanye West, and gospel singer, Kirk Franklin changed his life.
On Addiction and His Environment
Bennett shared how his music has been a reflection of his growth and how his life imitates his art. He admits his first mixtape, 10 Day, reflected his talents as a rapper and his immaturity as he was just 18 years old at the time. He began to garner much attention after the release of his first album but the success was getting to his head.
By 2013 he had released his second mixtape, Acid Rap, which was riddled with sexual innuendos and references to drugs. The album reflected Bennett’s quick rise to fame and how the pressures of success and his environment in Los Angeles and on tour influenced his addiction. In the interview, Bennett stated:
“I’m a plant if you uproot a plant and put it somewhere else, it won’t grow the same.”
He says he used to be a “Xan-Zombie” but a conversation with his father encouraged him to sober up and he rededicated his life to Christ. Coloring Book is Bennett’s first album without the foolishness, which reflects his spiritual growth as a person, artist, businessman, new father and family man.
Leaning on His Higher Power
After his quick rise to music success and the move to Los Angeles, Bennett didn’t recognize himself. The drugs and addiction to Xanax made him physically, emotionally, and psychologically sick. He recalled that his family had reached out to him multiple times with concern.
This influenced Bennett to sober up within 6 months. He began to have a spiritual revolution when he moved back to Chicago and reconnected with his community, lifelong friends and family.
As someone who grew up in the church, faith always played a big role in his music. He began listening to popular gospel artist, Kirk Franklin. In the interviews, Bennett highlights his spiritual awakening from listening to Kirk Franklin and a range of other artists from various music genres. He also credits a conversation he had with his now late grandmother that influenced him to rededicate his life to Christ.
On Raising a Family and Work Ethic
Another turning point for Bennett was the birth of his daughter in September 2015. Bennett now had the role of fatherhood and he credits it as a blessing that encouraged him to change his lifestyle.
On his album, Coloring Book, the birth of his daughter and his improved relationship with his girlfriend and mother of his child influenced some of the songs on the album. The song, “Same Drugs” makes references to his old life while he was on drugs but how that lifestyle has been replaced with his growth from raising his family.
Regarding the success of his music career and community involvement with Chicago’s inner city youth, Bennett credits his faith in God and the values he learned from his parents. His spirituality helped him sober up from drugs and focus on his family and career. Bennett recalls, “My dad told me to work hard. My mom told me to work for myself. And so now I work for myself really hard.”
Music as a Sound Path to Recovery
Bennett’s quick rise to fame lead him to a lifestyle he was uncomfortable with. The temptations of the music industry and addiction almost go hand-in-hand. Thousands of performing artists and entertainment professionals struggle with mental health issues and addiction. While many believe they may need drugs or alcohol to deal with industry pressures of success, it’s a false belief. Passion and talent can be expressed without substance abuse.
At Transformations Treatment Center, we support those in the music and entertainment industry who want to share their talents while clean and sober. Soundpath Recovery is a music recording program that helps clients express their creativity and musicality without the influence of drugs and alcohol. Soundpath integrates with PHP, IOP, and outpatient care. To learn more about Soundpath Recovery or the admissions process, call us today at 800-270-4315.