Kanye West and Chance The Rapper seem to have formed an endearing bond through the creation of West’s seventh studio album, The Life of Pablo. But just five years ago, Chance was just a Kanye fan from Chicago with big dreams. As Chance raps on the awe-inspiring first track, “Ultra Light Beam,” I met Kanye West, I'm never going to fail—it's clear that this is a giant moment for him. The FADER took it back to the start to see where the relationship between the two artists began. This is a brief history of how Chance went from fan to collaborator in just a few short years.
In the early beginnings of Chance The Rapper’s career as a lyricist, he tweeted quite a bit about Kanye West’s influence on his evolution as an artist. Before the release of his first mixtape, 10 Day in 2011, Chance was known in Chicago for his performances in spoken word spaces which would later lead him to start showcasing his raps around the city.
Chance encouraged his Twitter community to engage in some Kanye West Appreciation activity by posing a question to possibly populate timelines with the best lines from the rapper. Later, he would perform covers of West’s material as well as incorporate one on his first album Acid Rap.
Chance has made it every clear that College Dropout is one of his most beloved Kanye West albums. In 2012, he went to defend the project by showing the strong impact that it had on him as an elementary school age kid just in case any naysayers doubted the power of Kanye’s first project.
In April 2013, Chance released his debut album, Acid Rap—an out of the box project fused with sounds of jazz, Chicago juke and drill. On the first track, “Good Ass Intro featuring BJ The Chicago Kid,” Chance put his own spin on the Kanye West’s “Intro” from his Freshman Adjustment mixtape. According to Chance, the 3 minute and 6 second long song took 7 months to create as it takes the original track, which featured John Legend. and adds a juke beat and gospel choir to bring the vocals home.
5. It seemed that Chance had finally reached his hero...
Kanye likes Acid Rap— Lil Chano From 79th (@chancetherapper) July 7, 2013
Chance tweeted three months later that Kanye approved of his work, but things maybe weren't as they seemed...
In November of the same year, Chance told Sway that he had no idea if Kanye really liked his mixtape. “Seriously, I was making a statement," he said. "I just tweeted, ’Kanye likes Acid Rap,’ and right after that there was a Complex story [saying], ’Look out for a Kanye and Chance collaboration!’ And, I mean, that could happen, who knows? But I have no idea how Kanye feels about Acid Rap. I know a lot of people in Kanye’s camp, I know Kanye has definitely heard Acid Rap, but I’ve never met Kanye.”
7. Finally, Chance The Rapper and Kanye West have a face to face meeting.
At the 2014 Made In America Festival in Los Angeles, Chance the Rapper met with his idol Kanye West in-person for the first time. It had been a long time coming but this monumental introduction would only be the beginning of the special relationship to come.
Finally! In July 2015, Kanye shouted out Chance at RBC’s Ottawa Bluesfest calling him one, “one of the most talented new young artists.” After West, told the audience to “stay tuned” for Chance’s new material, the 21 year-old rapper expressed his excitement and appreciation for the acknowledgment from one of his greatest music inspirations:
In 2015, while on the line-up for Arizona’s Summer End Festival, Chance covered one of his College Dropout favorites, “Family Business.” With the backing of a band, Chance slowed down the song and sang through his own adaptation of the song. A year later he named, this song along with "We Don't Care" and "All Falls Down" as his top picks off the album. He ended this performance by telling the crowd he was going to be a father soon—a tender moment that dad Kanye would love.
11. Chance releases a "Family Business" inspired video for Family Matters tour.
In October 2015, Chance started his Family Matters tour and released a video that documented some behind the scenes footage of the journey along with images from his childhood and of his own family. The song, which features a sample of Kanye West's "Family Business," plays behind the montage of the tour's tender moments.
12. Just five years after tweeting about his idol, Chance enters the studio and helps work on The Life Of Pablo.
After Kanye West premiered a large part of the album at his Yeezy 3 release at Madison Square Garden, the album was still unreleased. Later that week, West would reveal that it was Chance's fault for the delay because he couldn’t let the album come out without “Waves”—a song the two worked on together—claiming a spot on the final line-up. The two went back into the studio to perfect the track so that the album could be complete.