Chance the Rapper is more than his religious stances

Chance the Rapper is more than his religious stances

Chance the Rapper is more than his religious stances
February 20
19:38 2017

The 59th Annual Grammy Awards were held on Feb. 12, and as many have heard or seen, the night was extravagant and eventful. Among the winners and performances, the noteworthy, historic winner of the night was Chance the Rapper.

Chance became the first streaming-only artist to be nominated for a Grammy, leaving the night with three. Two days later, Noisey released an essay titled “It’s Tough to Be a Chance the Rapper Fan When You’re Not a Christian.”

In response, Twitter feeds bombarded this essay with question marks and statements of confusion. Lawrence Burney, who wrote the essay, delved into his personal experiences with the black church, and how it was difficult to enjoy Chance’s wins because of his own view, in his words, on a “complicated God.”

Most music is used to share experiences and feelings with their audience. In rap, a lot of rappers do mention a Christian God, recycling lines that thank and praise this deity. What’s very cool about Chance is his very different approach to mentioning religion in his songs. Many rappers will mention a God to display a connection to their culture and show that they simply believe in a God. Chance wants listeners to know he feels his God in every shape and form in his life. Mentioning God in rap isn’t taboo, but showcasing your journey with religion is.

I genuinely believe that religion is a personal journey, so in that spirit, to each their own. Burney isn’t wrong in that his journey affects how he views religion and Chance’s music. Burney says it was “the implied support of demonizing anyone whose values didn’t line up with [his] to a T – permanently [turning him] away.”

This message obviously doesn’t align with every religious person, but I have too wondered about this mindset and its prejudices. When others judge people of their own religion for not praising a certain way, this has always stifled my attempts to be more involved with my church.

Many cultures rely heavily on their religious beliefs to shape who they are, and it is understandable why this systemic way of how to be can be harmful and push you away. On the other hand, I also believe that only you can define your relationship with religion and no one is allowed to question your personal relationship with it. I know this is not the mindset of all and perhaps not even Chance, but even then, it has no effect on how I appreciate him.

I enjoy Chance for broader reasons that are more applicable for my views. Chance is a game-changer and trail-blazer, which is always something worth admiring. He is incredibly talented, and so be it if he believes in a God who he thanks for everything. His musicality and performances are extraordinary because his passion is so loud and it is all powered through his strong faith.

I am an avid music lover, and most passionate musicians navigate several different avenues to amplify why they do what they do. Chance’s just happens to be religion. I like what he does because he’s good at it, and like Burney said, “Faith in something, whether that be in God, your community or just yourself can help you realize your dreams.”

Chance offers his music only through streaming because he thinks it’s vital that everyone can enjoy music. He works hard to build up his hometown of Chicago. He discusses his demons and battles, and his music is beautifully crafted to showcase every part of that.

I used to question whether I could enjoy Chance thoroughly because I am also not religious, and I don’t know where I’ll end up regarding my religion in the years ahead. What I do know is Chance’s statements are larger than showing what he believes, but that faith in anything can bring a lot of good.

Religion is complicated and you can go back and forth on different ways of dealing with it, but Chance is playful, good, inspiring and you don’t need to be religious to enjoy that.

Featured Illustration: Antonio Mercado

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Tori Falcon

Tori Falcon

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