Chance the Rapper talks about a new single, an art exhibit and past negativity

“It’s good to be back and to know who I am,” Chance the Rapper told Complex, after the private opening of his “Child of God” art exhibition with Naïla Opiangah at the Museum of Contemporary Art. from Chicago this week.

A common misconception about the 28-year-old rapper and father of two, however, is that he forgot who he was in the first place. In reality, Chance has only settled deeper into himself in the past few years. Today, he reappears as an artist who accepts being always affected by negativity, but is no longer afraid of being misunderstood.

In early 2022, the Chicago rapper embarked on a pilgrimage to Ghana, where he reconnected with his darkness, discovered deep family roots, and met people who would ultimately help shape the creative approach to his next project. One such person was Naïla Opiangah, a talented Gabonese painter who at the time worked in the studio of legendary Ghanaian artist Amoako Boafo. The two connected instantly and Chance decided he wanted her involved in one of his most ambitious creative endeavors to date.

“Child of God” is Chance’s first solo release in over a year, doubling as an exhibition of contemporary art. It also marks the start of a new chapter for Chance the Rapper. His music has continued to evolve since the release of his last studio album, The big day, and therefore have its visuals. He’s always loved movies, but in directing the cinematography of ‘Child of God’, Chance now fully showcases his talents as a filmmaker and creates a ‘new visual language’ that puts more emphasis on the words he spits. .

“Even though it makes me more vulnerable and puts a lot of emphasis on what I’m saying, I feel like that’s what I have the most to offer right now,” he explains. he. “I feel like I gave a lot of luck, and I always give a lot of luck, but now I’m trying to give a little more ‘The Rapper’ and let people get what they come for , these are my words.

Throughout the “Child of God” clip, we see Naïla’s painting being created. She says the illustration of nude black women together was an idea she came up with after listening to the song and sketching what came to mind. Naïla reveals that the prospect of drawing naked black women intimidated her at first, as she felt awkward, but it wasn’t until she questioned and explored these feelings that the piece fully blossomed.

It all ends with a song and video that oozes a sense of confidence that Chance has worked hard to regain. “Child of God” has the kind of poise and self-assurance that he says would make his high school proud of him, and the song comes just over a week before Chance’s 10th anniversary. 10 days mix tape. He’s thought a lot about the project in the days leading up to the anniversary, and he thinks the new music he’s about to release shows how much he’s grown as a person since being suspended from school.

“If I was able to see my old self who had just released his first mixtape with his head in the clouds, and had gotten Illroots – which was the biggest contract in the world at the time – and had gone alone to SXSW on a train at 18 for 26 hours when I’ve never traveled anywhere else in the world on my own, I’m proud of this kid I think this kid is proud of me too.

Following the release of “Child of God”, Complex chatted with Chance the Rapper and Naïla Opiangah about combining their creative processes to create the song and the accompanying art, the impact of Chance’s trip to Ghana about his life and his music, and what guided him in the creation of his next project.


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Reggie S. Williams