Often times, up and coming rappers find themselves crafting their live performance techniques from Hip Hop acts who’ve come before them and for Chicago emcee Chance The Rapper, he says he learned how to become a live performer thanks to the late Michael Jackson.
According to the Acid Rap creator, it was Michael Jackson’s Live in Bucharest: The Dangerous Tour DVD that encouraged his story-telling techniques as a performer.
“If I hadn’t gotten that DVD, I wouldn’t be a live performer,” he revealed during an interview with Complex magazine. “That was what I studied, the dancing on stage and incorporation of the crowd and the leg drops and the emotion of the set. Making it a story so that people stay with you the whole time—so you’re not just playing random songs.”
In his interview with Complex, the self-described “bad son” also commented on the influence Kanye West’s The College Dropout had on him as an “impressionable kid” who took every skit on the rapper’s debut to heart.
“I was a mad impressionable kid, and every skit from The College Dropout was telling me how I didn’t need school,” said the rapper. “And I think that had a very big impact on how I treated it…I was like his bad son. At one point [my father] was like, ‘I might have to kill this nigga. He is too bad. I put this nigga in the world’…He used to say that. Only way more violently.”
The former political campaign intern who garnered heavy attention with the release of the Ab-Soul assisted “Smoke Again” also spoke on the destructiveness of the lean squares he rapped about on the record. He later gave credit to Los Angeles-based rap group Freestyle Fellowship for his interest in the “construction of rap.”
“There was a point where I just did not care about my body. I just felt indestructible. I was smoking mad lean squares,” Chance explained. “That was really bad for me, so I stopped…When I found Freestyle Fellowship, I started getting into the construction of rap. You get better at it the more you do it, you figure out the science and the math behind it. You can construct shit like it’s a problem instead of listening to the song. But with Em it was just so fucking sporadic and energetic. It was a big part of me figuring out my sound.”
With only two mixtapes under his belt, 10 Day and Acid Rap, Chance The Rapper has already gone on to secure a number of accolades in his career. His Acid Rap project made its way onto Billboard’s Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums chart in July and he’s appeared on records with Childish Gambino, Lil Wayne, and Action Bronson.