By now, chances are you’ve heard of Chance The Rapper. From selling out international shows in one minute to revealing a surprising falsetto at the ESPYs, it seems as though Chance can do (and is doing) it all—likely making it tough for newcomers with similar styles to stand out from under his shadow.
— Lil Chano From 79th (@chancetherapper) August 10, 2016
We’d imagine it’s even harder if you’re Chance The Rapper’s younger sibling.
Allow us to introduce you to Taylor Bennett, Chance’s 20 year-old brother who’s slowly proving that hip hop prowess most definitely runs in the family.
A video posted by Tay Bennett Entertainment Inc. (@taylorbennettraps) on
Bennett was born and raised in the south side of Chicago with his brother Chancelor, with whom he was inseparable. Just like Chance, Bennett started rapping at a young age and found online success releasing free mixtapes. Even though their diction, pitch and appearance are similar, Bennett insists that when it comes to their respective rap careers, he and his brother are very different.
“I have more of a hip hop flow and Chance is more of an entertainer. I’m more of a rapper…I’m like an MC,” he said in an interview with Vocalo.
Bennett began freestyling to the makeshift drumbeats of pens and pencils banging on a desk in the fourth grade. Battling with his peers on the playground and winning their lunch money was just the start of his budding rap career. Using artists like Twista, Nas, Kendrick Lamar and Kanye West as inspiration, the rapper adopted an abrasive writing style and speedy lyrical flow.
But it wasn’t until the age of 15 that Bennett began to seriously pursue a career in rap. Bennett’s friend and now-manager Joseph Cabey convinced him to record a song, even offering to pay for studio time. Still apprehensive, Bennett recorded “Speed Racer,” the first single off his debut 2013 mixtape. From there, The Taylor Bennett Show was born.
The response to Bennett’s first mixtape release was so satisfying that he went on to release three others: Mainstream Music, Freshman Year: First Semester, and his latest release, Broad Shoulders.
Comparing the rapper’s very first single to Broad Shoulders, it’s clear that Bennett has evolved as an artist. Transitioning away from just fast-paced lyrical flow, Bennett now incorporates what he refers to as “artistic creation.” With the smashing success of Chance’s Coloring Book, music fanatics across the globe have been comparing Bennett to his brother.
“When anybody compares me to Chance…it’s not disrespect, it’s an honour,” he said to Vocalo earlier this year.
But what Bennett strives to make clear is that while he appreciates everything his brother has done for him, he earned his fanbase on his own. He credits his successes—such as selling out New York shows and gaining over 43,000 followers on SoundCloud—to hard work and determination, rather than blood relations.
“It’s different having a sibling in the entertainment business,” Bennett told Rolling Stone. “My thing with my brother is that he always wanted me to work on myself and create my own name before we got to work together. He always knew that I was great enough to get a fan base and sell out shows and get a lot of views.”
Although Bennett has been rapping since he was 15, it took the Bennett brothers five years to collaborate on a song together.
“It’s really about making sure that if I really want to do this…it’s genuine and I do it because I want to be an artist,” Bennett said in an interview with Hot 97. “There’s a struggle that all artists have to go through and when you just open up that door, that’s not real.”