Chance The Rapper gives lecture at Harvard

Chicago MC discusses Baltimore protests, streaming services and Kanye West

Chance The Rapper was invited to give a guest lecture at Harvard University’s Hiphop Archive & Research Institute last Thursday (April 30), and the Chicago artist took the opportunity to sit down for a Q&A, fielding questions on the current protests in Baltimore, streaming services like the recently-launched Tidal, misogyny in hip-hop, and working with Kanye West, among other topics.

“I thought you guys were troubled kids and shit and I was coming to talk to you about getting your lives together,” he joked to the Ivy League school students. On the civil unrest in Baltimore, Chance urged the group to stay informed to what’s actually happening in the city and described the situation as “very hard to watch”.

“I think it’s really most important for everybody to be informed, to be connected to the situation,” he said, as reported by Fader. “I always say like there’s an act – when to be a hand or to be a voice. You gotta know when your Twitter is stronger or your body actually marches. Sometimes it’s either/or, you know? But I don’t want to dance around saying this shit is wrong. I think we all know that. It’s very hard to watch it happening on a loop.”


With Jay Z’s recently-launched Tidal service currently attracting criticism from all over the place, Chance was asked about his thoughts on the company. He described Tidal’s formula as “awesome if it actually works out” but that streaming services were “whack as fuck”. He’s a big supporter of Soundcloud, though.

“Soundcloud is awesome. It’s ill as fuck,” he said. “Artist’s space, you can upload your music whenever you want. You get the craziest metrics that anybody can offer you: sex, age, region of the world these people live in, a very detailed account of who’s your fan and what they like. One of the coolest things that they have is this thing where you can change the music that you upload. You can randomly change the music that’s playing and keep all the same information right there. I was doing this thing for a while called Broadcast where I would randomly change songs that I had posted to Soundcloud to a different audio file, not telling anybody. I’d preview music like that, so random fans throughout the world heard songs that I hadn’t released yet.”

Chance took to Instagram last week to hint at a forthcoming collaboration with Kanye West. Posting a picture of the pair to Instagram, the MC wrote, “When I dream of Heaven I don’t see sharp edges,” perhaps quoting new lyrics. Speaking at Harvard, he described Kanye as someone who “every time he speaks, it’s all on purpose”.

“He’s just giving you his straight up ideas and his feelings on how the world works and how it should work,” he continued. “I just respect the fuck out of him, and I respect him much more after sitting with him in a room with no one watching and no cameras on and him being like, ‘I care this much about how the world works and how your shit goes and I’m going to give you a full blown lecture, really loud, about how this shit works.’ And I was like ‘yeah, for sure.'”

Chance allegedly announced the surprise release of his forthcoming LP ‘Surf’ during a concert at Michigan State University recently. The record will be a collaboration piece with Donnie Trumpet and The Social Experiment.