Chance The Rapper: "'College Dropout' Was My First Real Experience with Hip-Hop"

Chance recalls hearing "Through The Wire" on the radio and everything changing from there.
Kanye West The College Dropout album art

In a recent interview with the Chicago Defender, Chance the Rapper reflected on how he has become one of the most in-demand, critically acclaimed artists in music. In looking back, Chance credits Kanye West's debut album, The College Dropout, as a life-changing moment for him when it came to music:

“When I first heard “Through the Wire” on the radio and right after that, my mom went and bought me College Dropout and then every Kanye West album since then,” he said. “That was the first real music that I called my own. That was a big thing for me. After that, I was able to reach back and find music that I loved that represented me growing up. That was my first real experience with hip hop.”

It's easy to understand why Chance felt the way he did about Kanye's work after just one listen to "Through The Wire." 

The honesty, passion, and pain Kanye exudes throughout the song can be felt in the deepest depths of your soul and, even if you weren't striving for anything in particular at the time the record first hit your eardrums, it made you want to do more and leave a lasting impression:

Kanye's music didn't just introduce a young Chancelor Bennett to hip-hop, though. Acid Rap and Coloring Book, the Chicago native's two critically acclaimed works, are both littered with inspiration from Dropout selections like "Jesus Walks," "Family Business" (he covered it) and "Spaceship." There is the ultra-spiritual, damn near Sunday church sounds of "Finish Line/"Drown," the "Slow Jamz"-esque "Smoke Break" and the stripped down "Blessings."

Eleven years old at the time of Ye's debut release, it must be surreal for Chance to now recall his first experiences with hip-hop all the while performing and being in the studio with the very person that provided the inspiration for him to be at the forefront of the industry. Chance might have turned down a label deal with his musical idol, but it's clear Kanye will always be in his ears.