For the past few years, with increasing frequency, Chance the Rapper has used his money and fervent following to exert pressure on the political system in Chicago. That’s come in the form of hefty donations, contentious meetings with political figures and straightforward activism. And the young Chicago MC hasn’t been shy about his political aspirations, either. Born Chancellor Johnathan Bennett, Chance’s father is Ken Williams-Bennett, a longtime political operator, working for Barack Obama and Rahm Emanuel.
After Emanuel’s surprise announcement in September that he will not be seeking reelection as the Mayor of Chicago, it would appear that Chance has been receiving some encouragement to run for office. On Monday, in a cryptic Tweet, he fed the flames of the speculation, simply writing, “Im thinkin maybe I should.”
The Tweet is a reference to his 2015 song, “Somewhere In Paradise,” which features R. Kelly and Jeremih. “They say I’m saving my city, say I’m staying for good / They screaming ‘Chano for mayor,’ I’m thinking maybe I should,” is the line in the song. For his Twitter announcement, Chance simply kept the final part of the couplet.
In an interview with Genius explaining the lyrics to his recently released “I Might Need Security,” Chance weighed in on Chicago politics prior to Emanuel’s announcement that he wouldn’t be seeking reelection. “Rahm is the mayor of Chicago. My dad used to work for him. He just doesn’t need to be mayor anymore. I’m pretty sure he’s seeking re-election in Chicago, but he’s closed, I think, over a hundred schools in Chicago, tried to hide and settle the Laquan McDonald tapes when he was murdered by the police,” he said. “It’s important that people know we have a shitty mayor, but I’m sure everybody else has shitty mayors that they need to worry about. I just really hope that he’s not actually gonna run again because it’s over for his ass, yo. It’s over for his ass.”
Since Emanuel’s announcement, Chance spoke up again about the political situation in Chicago on a recent appearance on Joe Budden’s podcast. “You could look at it on some defeatist shit, like ‘If I do this shit they’re going to fuck it up anyway.’ But if you don’t do it, it’s fucked up anyway, so why not? I think there’s an easy way to look at it like a blanket thing: ‘Chance does good things, in totality.’ But if you look at the specific things I’m working on, and look at it critically, it’s usually something that has something to do with equity, to make sure that everyone gets what they deserve — not necessarily equality, because if there’s people that are set back then equal shares don’t make them equal. Or it has something to do with women’s rights, or black women’s rights, period. Education. It’s a lot in the same area. Homelessness. You could call it all economics.”
He continued, discussing the development since Emanuel stepped out of mayoral contention. “It’s like a wide-open race now. I think 15 or 16 candidates?… I am a rapper, I rap. As a whole, I have very forward-thinking ideas. I’m 25; I’ve got a minute in this joint.”
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