GQ/Mark Seliger Chance the Rapper
8.24.2016

Chance the Rapper Talks Frank Ocean, Kanye West, & President Obama

Chance the Rapper is high on life. The Chicago rapper is still celebrating the success of his latest album Coloring Book, which has even earned him a special fan or two in Washington, D.C.

During an interview with GQ, Lil Chano says that “they’re bumping Coloring Book hard up [in the White House].”

“If you go up there,” he adds, “you’ll probably hear Coloring Book. This is not a joke at all…Malia [Obama] listens to Coloring Book. And I send them stuff sometimes…Barack was talking about it. Or, uh, President Obama was talking about it.”

In fact, Chance says, the POTUS even set aside some time to talk about the album during a recent My Brother’s Keeper event, which was attended by several other stars.

“There was a big meeting [in April] about My Brother’s Keeper and criminal-justice reform, and a whole bunch of artists and celebrities were there,” says Chance. “And at the end, everybody takes a group photo, and he’s signing stuff. And he keeps pushing me to the back, and I’m like, ‘I don’t understand why he won’t sign my shit.’ And he makes me wait till the end, and then he brings me up to his office, and we had a really good conversation about what I was working on. He told me I needed to start selling my music. He’s a good man. Even if he wasn’t president, if his ass worked at, like, Red Lobster, he’d be just a good man working at Red Lobster.”

Elsewhere in the interview, Lil Chano also reveals lessons from Kanye West and what a great wingman Frank Ocean can be. Read the full profile via GQ and see more highlights below.

On Kanye West: “I would say almost 60 percent of working with Kanye—let’s say 53 percent of working with Kanye—is speeches.”

On making Coloring Book: “We started bringing in more producers and more vocalists and a choir and an orchestra, and at a certain point we were like, ‘Okay, now we need three rooms.’ And eventually we decided to rent out the whole studio, and we just put mattresses in all the rooms and it became a camp.”

On Frank Ocean’s wingman skills: “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…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.”

On rejecting record labels: “Just in terms of, like, those guys being able to say that they got me. That’s what they want to do. It’s like a fucking dick-swinging contest, where they all just brag about who they recently got. And so I’m definitely not trying to be a part of their dick-swinging contest. I’m staying far away from all dick-swinging.”

On Acid Rap: “I was just doing a lot of drugs, just hanging out. I was gone all the time.”

On his grandmother: “When I was younger, my grandma said a prayer over me that damn near sounded like a curse…And she looked me in the eyes and she said, ‘I don’t like what’s going on.’ She said, ‘I can see it in your eyes. I don’t like this.’ And she says, ‘We’re gonna pray.’ And she prayed for me all the time. Like, very positive things. But this time, she said, ‘Lord, I pray that all things that are not like You, You take away from Chance. Make sure that he fails at everything that is not like You. Take it away. Turn it into dust.’ I’m thinking, like, damn, I don’t even know if God likes rap! You know what I’m saying? Is she praying that I fail at everything I’m trying to do?”

On living in ‘Koi Kastle’ with James Blake: “It was like a big-ass rapper mansion. I had the pool. I had the movie theater. I had the basketball court. I was doing it real big. I was Xanned out every fucking day…I was just fucking tweaking. I was a Xan-zombie, fucking not doing anything productive and just going through relationship after relationship after relationship. Mind you, this is six months. So think about, like, how could you even do that?”

On his daughter: “I think it was the baby that, you know, brought my faith back. My daughter, when she was still in utero, she had, they call it atrial flutters. It’s kind of like an irregular heartbeat. But when you’re in utero, it’s real hard to detect and also to treat. Sometimes you have to get a C-section so they can operate on the baby. Never told this to anyone. And it made me pray a whole lot, you know, and need a lot of angels and just see shit in a very, like, direct way. And…you know, God bless everything, it worked out well.”

On Laquan McDonald: “We already have a really bad relationship with the police. We already have a really bad relationship with the city. They kind of have us stuck in our corners of the West Side and the South Side and only come through our neighborhoods when they’re trying to do some bullshit. Now we have video of them doing us like this? It was just scary, I think for everybody.”