It’s been on YouTube since 2011, but a video of a 17-year-old Chance The Rapper performing at an open mic event in a Chicago library has now been fully rediscovered by his fans.
It’s obviously interesting to watch because it captures Chance before he became the hot property he is now, an acclaimed rapper-singer-actor wanted for features by everyone from Justin Bieber to Skrillex to Kanye West. But it’s also significant because this open mic event played a key part in Chance’s initial rise. “The big thing was the open mic,” he recalled in a 2013 interview with Complex. “The list would be super-fucking full, 30 kids trying to perform different poetry pieces, people coming up there footworking and breakdancing, doing stand-up, singing and rapping, just doing crazy shit. It was a really ill thing because it was smack in the centre of downtown, so anybody from any school could come there because every train comes to the loop [downtown]. I met damn near all the producers on [debut mixtape] #10Day through this library.”
The track he performs in the video, a reminiscence-packed jam called ‘Nostalgia’, would end up on that mix tape too, so it’s a little piece of Chance The Rapper history. Watch below.