Chance The Rapper glo'd up this year. Few rappers have seen the kind of rapid, sustained ascent that he's had since releasing Acid Rap three years ago: an Apple Music deal, a world tour, seven Grammy nominations, a No. 1 urban radio record, all without a major record label. Most rappers would have fizzled out by now; he hasn't even released his official debut album yet.
Yet out of all his accomplishments this year, it's his work on Kanye West's The Life of Pablo that represents the biggest artistic leap of his career. Chance has always looked up to Kanye—Yeezy is the main reason Chano got into making rap in the first place—so to see him go from channeling West's musical energy on the Acid Rap intro to being on Kanye's album intro is an astounding journey. Not only did he help write on the album, but he helped produce too, and he delayed the album in order to fight for "Waves" to be included. He's the hero of the LP.
But it feels like every song he touched this year gained a special kind of magnetism. He wiggles into John Legend's "Penthouse Floor" and then stomps a beautiful hole in it, steals the spotlight on Macklemore's "Need to Know," and even expands into pop with Hundred Waters' "Show Me Love."
So to celebrate Chano's gifted way with words, we run down his nine best guest features of the year, because hate him or love him, nobody's rapping like Chance The Rapper right now.
"Higher"Brian Fresco Featuring Chance The Rapper and Blue Hawaii
How much you wanna bet Chance recorded this while he was in L.A.?
"Show Me Love (Skrillex Remix)"Hundred Waters Featuring Chance The Rapper, Moses Sumney and Robin Hannibal
It's good to hear Chance on a song as huge as this one. It's better to hear him call himself a "glo'n up."
"Girls"Joey Purp Featuring Chance The Rapper
Chance sounds terrific on upbeat records like this, and hearing him shout out girls of all sizes warms your heart.
"Need to Know"Macklemore & Ryan Lewis Featuring Chance The Rapper
This is basically a Chance song with Macklemore's name on it, if you couldn't tell by the time Chano steals the spotlight in the middle of the track.
"Pass Dat (Remix)"Jeremih Featuring Chance The Rapper, Young Thug and The Weeknd
It's sad this remix got such a sloppy release, because it's lowkey one of the best remixes of the year. Plus, it's the second time in a year we got to hear Chance's Thugger impression.
"LSD"Jamila Woods Featuring Chance The Rapper
"This here ain't for no Vice doc, this here ain't for no Spike op/But since I was one like a cyclops, I run up some stairs on a bike cop."
"Fool Wit It Freestyle"Supa Bwe Featuring Chance The Rapper
Chance caught this beat on the chin, rapping about the cigarettes he smokes and his phone always dying.
"Penthouse Floor"John Legend
The kid really opened his verse with a knock knock joke.
"Ultralight Beam"Kanye West Featuring The-Dream, Kelly Price, Kirk Franklin and Chance The Rapper
Kanye opened his new album with a gospel song, and Chance, God-inclined as he is, laid the perfect verse to accompany the spirituality of the song.