Chance the Rapper is giving back to the community by doing what he does best.
He has been holding a series of free (with school ID) open mics at Chicago schools, with the goal of “building the next generation of cultural communities” by targeting the city’s young and creative minds.
He and rising rapper Vic Mensa took the stage during the fifth event in the series on Monday night (May 11) alongside a surprise guest for a performance that, doubtless, those students will never forget.
The one and only Kanye West performed Mensa’s “U Mad” and his own track, “All Day.” Chance joined the duo for West’s “We Don’t Care,” according to Mic.com.
Chance and Mensa have dubbed the events “Open Mikes,” in honor of late poet Mike Hawkins, who passed away last year. Both rappers acknowledge him as a music mentor.
— Chance The Rapper (@chancetherapper) May 12, 2015
“Musically, from before he passed, he’s just been a huge influence, and teacher, and molder of me [from] when I was 14 years old. I would think the open mic thing would be musically how he affected me, him building that space for me,” Chance told Complex in a recent interview. “And also, in his passing, taught me that’s my job. I’m not a mentee anymore … [The] gratification of being donned a great rapper isn’t as important as giving people the resources they need in order to make the statements they want to make.”
None of the performers make any profit from these events, with Chance noting that even the organizers who assist him are volunteers.
In a time when rap music is still associated with significant negativity, maybe more events like these need to exist.