Chance the Rapper's 3 Grammy wins cheered in Chicago

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Chance the Rapper won three Grammy Awards Sunday night, including best new artist and for the best rap album. (WLS)

Chance the Rapper won three Grammy Awards Sunday night, including Best New Artist and Best Rap Album.

The rapper won for his album, "Coloring Book," beating out several established performers, including Drake and Kanye West.

For those who know Chancellor Bennett - especially his Chicago fans - his wins were no surprise. His father, Ken Bennett, worked with President Obama and Mayor Rahm Emanuel, and he said Chicago is always in his son's heart.

"Wherever he goes, whatever he does, he wants to take Chicago with him," Bennett said.

Chance made history when he became the first artist to win a Grammy for a streaming-only album. His music is available to download for free, but for the South Side native his success is more than just about music. He is always looking for ways to give back.

"He's always looking for ways to express his music but he's always looking for other ways for others to express their music, specifically young people," his father said.

Chance's journey through music began in West Chatham, but the drive and talent was developed during his days at Jones College Prep High School, where his win was topic number one Monday.

"We've all been talking about the Grammys and everyone on Facebook has been reposting Chance posts, and we are all so happy for him," said Elizabeth Goldblatt, junior.

"Being from communities that don't necessarily have privilege, to see someone just like us make it that far is amazing," said Onam Lansana, senior.

In fact, Jones Prep's courtyard was one of Chance's early stages.

"He would rap during lunchtime and students would follow him around," recalled Julie Achettu, his teacher.

"I think he's got a great business model; I think that's what impresses me more than anything else, how he's done that without a recording contract. You go back not too many years that was the only way you could be successful in music, if you had a contract with a major label. No the case anymore, and he's proven that is possible," said Joe Powers, principal.

Chance graduated from Jones Colege Prep in 2011 and was getting noticed soon after. The Metro gave him one of his first concerts and it was a sellout.

"Metro's kind of like a lab for him, so any ideas he has he always comes here. He often does rehearsals for his tours here. He's always sneaking in the back door too, to show up at people's stages and do walk-ons. I'm blown away that someone this young could be so talented right away," said Joe Carsello, Metro.

Chance is also an activist working to stop gun violence in Chicago, and before November's election organized a get out the vote rally. Sunday night both his music and his social justice voice got amplified.

The next time Chance is back in Chicago is likely next Friday, when he hosts a charity event. He also hosts monthly open mic nights at Harold Washington Library.

Chance received congratulations from Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner, to which he responded asking for a meeting which the governor seemed to grant.

Another Chicagoan who took home not one, but two Grammys. Singer Lalah Hathaway won Best Traditional R&B Performance for "Angel." She also won Best R&B Album for "Lalah Hathaway Live." In that category, she beat out another Chicagoan, BJ the Chicago Kid, who was nominated for "In My Mind."

Earlier, during a non-televised part of the awards ceremony, Chance the Rappper also won a Grammy for best rap performance.

He had no prepared remarks as he accepted the award for Best Rap Album, adding that he didn't expect to win in this category.

But his acceptance speech was just as exuberant as the one for Best New Artist, during which he thanked God and his hometown of Chicago. Emanuel sent a follow-up tweet after Chance's win:

Rolling Stone magazine pointed out on Twitter that Chance was the first African American hip-hop artist to win the award in nearly two decades.

Chicago Cubs first baseman Anthony Rizzo attended the Grammys. He tweeted a picture of himself with his girlfriend, Emily Vakos, before the show.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.
Related Topics:
entertainmentu.s. & worldgrammy awardrapperChicagoChathamSouth Loop
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