Photo via teamfrankocean.tumblr.com
Chance the Rapper, as you might guess, has a pretty fascinating life. He was asked to do a Muhammad Ali tribute at the ESPYs. His album Coloring Book is full of a rich cast of collaborators, any one of whom the rest of us might be extremely amped to hang out with. President Obama and Kanye West are both fans. Much of this is discussed in a new profile of Chance in GQ, which describes his meetings with the aforementioned Mssrs. Obama and West, along with providing tons of new context about the backstory of Coloring Book.
As anyone listening to lines to like "last year got addicted to xans" might have inferred, it began with a weird period, of Chance living in LA and doing a shit ton of drugs. In the story, he talks about living in a fancy house in North Hollywood and hanging out with people like Jeremih, BJ the Chicago Kid, James Blake (who, according to Blake, Chance put on the lease without asking, which is another weird story), and, uh Frank Ocean. The profile describes this period and includes maybe the best date story ever:
He will admit to some questionable decision-making during this time. He worked for actual months on a cover of the theme song to the animated TV show Arthur. Recorded a song or two with James Blake, when Blake was around. Mostly just hung out, did drugs, saw girls. Had the kind of nights you'd hope he might have. “I was on a date one time at the crib, and we're sitting in the front room, maybe rolling up some weed or something.” Frank Ocean was downstairs, somewhere. “And then Frank just comes up and starts playing the piano and lightly singing in the background of our date. Obviously, that scored me a lot of points with this female.” A reclusive genius serenading two kids, the sun setting over the valley. “But it wasn't where I was supposed to be.”
Imagine! Frank Ocean! While y'all were making memes wondering where Frank Ocean's album was, he was, as you feared, playing piano in Chance the Rapper's living room, soundtracking the dopest hookup sesh of all time. Sorry for you. Great for Chance!
Chance goes on to elaborate on his Xanax use and describes the series of events that eventually brought him back to Chicago to record Coloring Book, which he started last September. During the recording process, he slept in the studio on air mattresses, with some of his collaborators doing the same. That's not the only intense recording experience he's had recently either. Chance also discusses his role contributing to Kanye's The Life of Pablo and describes what it's like working in the studio with 'Ye. It sounds, as you might expect, batshit crazy and extremely awesome:
“I would say almost 60 percent of working with Kanye—let's say 53 percent of working with Kanye—is speeches.” In one room, West had racks of baby clothes. He had three different studios for producers. “There was another guy there who was a magician.”
A magician. Let that sink in. Kanye keeps a magician around the 'yo. No wonder his songs all sound so... magical B-).
Read the full profile, which is great, here.
Follow Kyle Kramer on Twitter.