When Drake dropped "Draft Day" late Tuesday night, the first thing most people zeroed in on was Drizzy's reference to Chance The Rapper, one of Chicago's brightest budding stars since the release of his Acid Rap mixtape about a year ago. While most regular readers know exactly who Chano is—he's been one of the breakout stars of the past 12 months, and has been popping up as one of the more regular names on the summer's festival circuit—a few were perplexed as to who, exactly, Chance The Rapper was.

The Drake line—"You should've followed all my moves, you won't realize 'til after / And if I left shit to chance I would've picked a name like Chance The Rapper / Yeah, no offense cause I don't know that nigga"—was taken as a diss by just about everyone, even though it was a defanged bite, if anything, compared to hip-hop's rich, venomous history with beefs and diss records. But for those who are uninitiated, XXL put together a 10-song Get To Know You guide to Chance The Rapper, Drake's latest "victim," if you will. At least until Chano bites back, that is.


"Good Ass Intro (So Good)"

Project: Acid Rap
Why It Was Dope: To start anywhere else would be to do yourself a disservice. The opening track to Acid Rap is a hell of an introduction, making the thesis statement that this project, and this rapper, would be different than everything else. The way it picks up immediately and grabs you straight off the bat makes it an opener on par with Kanye waking everyone up on Graduation's "Good Morning."



Project: #10Day
Why It Was Dope: A thoughtful, contemplative track off his debut mixtape, this one finds Chance floating over a nursery rhyme-type instrumental and putting his childhood to bed. Much of #10Day tackled those types of themes—childhood, high school, growing older—an important part of the development of his story, as it opens him up to a new level of maturity on Acid Rap.



Project: Acid Rap
Why It Was Dope: Probably his biggest song to date, and one that's sure to get a big pop at shows. But to pick just one song off Acid Rap borders on criminal. So we'll leave this here as a current-day high point for the Chicago kid.

Chance_SOBs_Lauren Gesswein

(Photo: Lauren Gesswein)


Vic Mensa featuring Chance The Rapper
Project: Unreleased
Why It Was Dope: Wavy and instantly re-playable, Vic let this one go a couple months ago late one night, and Chance comes in first and tears it apart with a tale of young love and its consequences. Vic more than holds his own here as well, but despite the heights he hits, Chance steals this one with the line, "Kiss the kids and kick the dogs / Fix the dinner, fix the faucet / Wash the dish and wish for rain and when it pours make sure in the midst of all / You don't forget to call me to come back..."

chance and vic

"Favorite Song" featuring Childish Gambino

Project: Acid Rap
Why It Was Dope: Gambino and Chano have been close for a while, with Gambino taking Chance out on his first big tour around the country, so it was only natural for the two of them to hop on a song together. Their chemistry is natural, and Gambino sounds fantastic over the stuttered, bouncy beat.


"Brain Cells"

Project: #10Day
Why It Was Dope: An early single off his first project, "Brain Cells" remains one of the best songs Chance has ever written. Defined particularly its opening line—"Here's a tab of acid for your ear"—the song is a great introduction to what Chance can bring to the table: tongue twisters, obscure pop culture references, personal anecdotes and a druggy, youthful arena of possibility.


"You Song"

Project: Lil Wayne, Dedication 5
Why It Was Dope: When Chance popped up on Wayne's last mixtape, it caught just about everyone by surprise. But when they heard the song, the surprise turned more to a sense of "wow," as he stood toe to toe with the Young Money man and probably bodied him on his own song. A Wayne co-sign doesn't mean as much in 2013 as it did in 2008, but it's nothing to sneeze at, and Weezy Season may very well be approaching fast again.


(Photo: Lauren Gesswein)

"Cocoa Butter Kisses" featuring Vic Mensa and Twista

Project: Acid Rap
Why It Was Dope: The organ swells and newly-iconic ad-libs set the tone for this one, with its instantly-catchy hook and star turns from fellow Chicagoans Vic Mensa and Twista. Get that much talent on one song and it's hard to screw that one up; Chance brings the song exactly what it needs, while Vic and Twista take things to the next level.


"Coast Is Clear"

Project: Skrillex, Recess
Why It Was Dope: Skrillex and Chance? We saw the photos of the two of them in the studio, but no one knew what it would sound like until Skrillex debuted the track out of nowhere at a show in Brooklyn, then added the track to his surprise release Recess. The track is cool for a couple reasons—not the least of which is Chance reappropriating lines from The Notorious B.I.G.—and the collaboration opens doors for Chano to move into any direction he wants.


"Child's Play"

Project: SZA, Z
Why It Was Dope: His most recent track to date, Chance teams with the TDE chanteuse for a thick, wavy and ethereal track that provides a background similar to Chance's own "Pusha Man." Chance comes in with a straightforward flow that doesn't stop for anything and almost trips over itself getting its words out. His use of different melodies, backing vocals and voices is a trademark that he's been developing of late.