Chance the Rapper on 'Acid Rap’ Influencing Artists Like Lil Uzi Vert and Jack Harlow

Chance says he gets praise to this day from artists younger than him and shouted out others from Chicago like Kanye West, Lupe Fiasco, and Chief Keef.

Chance the Rapper performs at Way out West.

GOTHENBURG, SWEDEN - AUGUST 12: Chance the Rapper performs at Way out West on August 12, 2022 in Gothenburg, Sweden. (Photo by Julia Reinhart/WireImage)

Chance the Rapper performs at Way out West.

2023 is likely to feature a ton of coverage surrounding the 10th anniversary of Chance the Rapper’s beloved mixtape Acid Rap, the milestone-commemorating revisiting of which will see key track “Juice” finally being made available on streaming.

Reflecting on the impact of the tape in a conversation with Complex, Chance called the project a “cult classic” that was unlike any other release in rap at the time of its unveiling.

“There’s definitely nothing that sounds like Acid Rap if you go back to 2013,” he said. “Like, you got [Kanye West’s] Yeezus, you got [Drake’s]Nothing Was the Same, you got Mac Miller’s Watching Movies With the Sound Off, you got J. Cole [Born Sinner]. In terms of rap, like, there was not another album that had a song like ‘Chain Smoker’ on it or another album that had a song like ‘Everybody’s Something’ on it. It was its own thing.”

Elsewhere in his chat with Complex, Chance detailed how he sees the tape’s sustaining influence, both on the “midwest sound” and beyond.

“I think it’s the blueprint for that midwest sound that you still hear to this day,” Chance said. “I think you’d be hard-pressed to find somebody that’s a year or two younger than me that wasn’t influenced by Acid Rap, even if they weren’t from the midwest. Jack Harlow, [Lil] Uzi Vert. People that are from opposite coasts and from other places still tell me, like, what the album meant to them at that time.”

But for those actually in Chicago at the time of the tape’s creation and rise to adoration, Chance pointed out, the experience was even more influential. Acid Rap, he said, served multiple purposes for artists at that time—it helped define a lane for those taking an alternative path, it solidified an “ecosystem” that was already in place, and it was part of something new in terms of what Chicago was known for in music.

Key to this era too was Chief Keef, who Chance shouted out as another Chicago artist who was redefining the sound at that time.

“Kanye West was still the biggest artist, Lupe was still charting. It was still an older generation of music that didn’t sound anything like Acid Rap or like drill music,” Chance said of the importance of those breakthrough years, specifically for what he and Keef were doing. “So I feel like me and Keef came out around the same time, both doing our own thing. That’s why we got so much coverage and so much support was because it was different than what you thought would be the typical Chicago sound.”

As fans are already well aware, the Acid Rap festivities are indeed extensive and most notably include a special hometown show in Chicago this August. See here for all the details.

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