Chance the Rapper on His Musical Idol Kanye West: 'That's What a Rapper Is to Me'

"I thought Kanye West was the smartest man in the world. The best poet in the world," Chance the Rapper told GQ magazine

Photo: Eric Ray Davidson

Chance the Rapper has made it known that he’s one of Kanye West’s biggest fans, but the star admits he never wanted to be like West “in personality.”

The 23-year-old graces the cover of GQ magazine’s February issue, where he opens up about his admiration for the 39-year-old rap titan.

“I don’t think I ever wanted to be like Kanye in personality,” Chance said. “I think I definitely want to — have always wanted to — have his boldness or assurance in myself.”

The Grammy-nominated artist garnered world-wide attention when he all but stole the show on West’s “Ultralight Beam,” a track from his 2016 album The Life of Pablo. Referred to as West’s heir apparent, Chance’s verse on the gospel-tinged track was just a taste of the full-length to come three months later, when he dropped Coloring Book in May.

Eric Ray Davidson

“I’ve definitely seen Kanye do things where I was like, ‘I’d never do that,’ ” Chance said. “I’ve always been able to defend Kanye … I’m rationalizing everything that he does, but I can’t say that, in the same position, I would do the same things.”

He added: “I always wanted to be more a person that people enjoy. Somebody that will make you laugh. I’m talking about just my personality, not necessarily how my music sounds. Because I believe I’m a disrupter like Kanye in a lot of ways.”

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Chance has admired West since he was a kid, he told GQ. He recalled moments during his childhood when his father would introduce him to people and they would ask “What are you going to be when you grow up?”

“I said, ‘rapper’ and my dad laughed it off, like, ‘No he doesn’t …’ you know? And I remember that s— used to bother the f—out of me.” he said. “Because I thought Kanye West was the smartest man in the world. The best poet in the world. The freshest-dressed in the world. That’s what a rapper was to me, and I wanted everybody to feel that way about the word ‘rapper.’ And ‘rapper,’ to me, is pretty much synonymous with the world ‘black.’ It’s a stigma.”

Eric Ray Davidson

His father, Ken Bennett, may have annoyed the rapper then, but Chance praised his father, calling him “the man.”

“He has always stuck up for people. And he’s also always been a good dude. That’s who I want to be. I’m okay if the story seems boring to people because I’m a good guy. I’m cool with that. I’d be cool with people remembering me as a good, boring dude. As long as people say ‘good…’ The good guy, in what I’ve seen happen so far, the good usually wins.”

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