Interview: Chances R
Published on May 18, 2011
I first came across Chance when he was featured on Eshon Burgundy’s single “Porcelain” He immediately caught my ear with his unique delivery not heard very much in CHH today. He would later release his own solo project “Come closer” which was later made available as a free download. I was likewise impressed. Chances R, you will be too.
Shine: Why don’t you go ahead and give us a little of your background on how you got started?
Chances R: My father is from Ghana in West Africa and my mother is from America, so musically I’ve always been close to music. Back in the day I had the opportunity to be the cute little kid on the drums (Laughs) and get on stage with my dad from time to time. I obviously developed a love for music and enjoyed the attention I got on stage. I started rapping probably around 12 or 13 years old and very similar to a lot of other Christian rappers I did the secular music first. Then as I came to Christ and started to mature in Christ I decided to give Him my talent and really start to rap about the things He would have me speak on. I’m still currently in a group called Society Park and we had the opportunity to release a full length project called Freedoms Journal Issue #1, (The beginning of change). That was like the first time that I recorded those things that I believe the Lord was telling me to speak about.
Shine: Who are some of your influences?
Chances R: Well, back in the day it wasn’t a lot Christian rappers per say, so I was always a Nas baby or Buckshot fan. Those were probably like my two favorite artists but as I started to come to the Lord, obviously my influences began to change. I use to listen to HanSoul a lot and I always felt like he was a good emcee as well as just a good brother. I had the opportunity to meet Hansoul very early in my Christian rap career and more than just music, his ministry was phenomenal. I just really appreciated how he just lifted up Christ everywhere.
Shine: What is it like being a Christian artist coming from out of Philly?
Chances R: One of the things I like about Philadelphia music in general is that it has a definite soul to it. Even back in the day with all the other great groups that came out of Philadelphia such as your Teddy Pendergrass, Harold Melvin and the Blue Notes the town in general has a real soul aspect to it. I feel like the Christian music is very similar as well. I do feel like the Christian hip hop that comes out of Philly, due to the fact that we’re right up here with New York, is a lot edgier and harder. Also in Philly there’s really strong Muslim community here as well and I feel like were competing for these young men and women. A lot of times, they already have an idea of what they think a Christian man is like which is often soft and because of that I believe that some of the CHH that comes out of Philly is a little bit more edgy. We have a certain demographic that we’re trying to reach who might be use to a little bit more street edge.
Shine: How do you feel about the sound that’s out today, the snap, pop, click?
Chances R: (Pauses) I’m personally not a fan of it as far as production I would seek for a Chances R project but I don’t necessarily disagree with it though. I don’t hate on it and if someone asked me to feature on a song and its one of those type of beats, you know its ministry before anything.
Shine: How did the concept come about for “Come closer”?
Chances R: The title actually stems from my courting partner. It was at the end of a date and we had been seeing each other for some time and we had decided to get closer in our relationship. She said that phrase as we might’ve been going in for a kiss or something like that and she stated “Come closer…” So the title actually stems from that but at the same time I was actually studying the way that the tabernacle was laid out in the Old Testament. The bible says to “Enter into His gates with thanksgiving and enter His courts with praise…” and the closer we get to the Lord its like are responsibility changes as a believer. All the while it’s like He’s beckoning you to come closer. Also with the way that social networking has taken off, come closer is like a theme. People are posting everything about their daily lives on Facebook and Twitter so I felt like it was the perfect title. Come closer to the Lord, come closer to me.
Shine: Why did you release it as a free download instead of letting fans purchase it?
Chances R: Well one of the things since I started rapping is that I never felt like I was able to serve with it. Partially because of the way I started out. I didn’t start out as a Christian rapper I started with the love aspect of it which quickly turned into the business aspect of it, so I never felt like I had an opportunity to serve. Serving is a prerequisite of being lifted or exalted so personally it was a conviction of mine to where a felt like I had never served with this talent. I was always looking for some type of compensation and at the very beginning of the project it was very clear to me that this was meant to be a free download, my way of serving with it.
Shine: You decided to release a song based on having went through a divorce, what was your reason for the release?
Chances R: At first I kind of struggled with it for a while because divorce in the church is a very touchy subject. I felt like I wanted to put that song on the album so believers and non-believers could have a full representation. In the church you’ll have people that are married which I do believe is Gods will, but then you’ll have some people who are divorced. I felt like I wanted to make sure that CHH and hip hop in general had a proper representation of how a person goes through a divorce. Their motions and their struggles and ultimately how God gets His Glory out of it.
Shine: What you like the like the listeners to walk away with?
Chances R: The primary thing is that they would be ministered to by the album as another contribution to CHH. Maybe it’s a voice that a listener might not have heard. Maybe there’s someone who might’ve struggled with the Lord the way that I’ve struggled with the Lord. I remember back in the day a time when I considered 5 percenter and Muslim as a faith. So there are a lot of things on there where I talk about my background where I’m kind of denouncing all of those understandings. Also I really just want them to walk away with just an intimate aspect of the Gospel.
Shine: What’s something we may not know about you?
Chances R: Well my Mac Powerbook, the letter “B” does not work on it. So whenever I have to make a letter be I have to go online and find one and copy it then paste it…
Chances R: (Laughs) It makes for a very interesting time every time I need to type on it.
Shine: Any final thoughts for the readers?
Chances R: If you’re in the household of faith continue to pursue the Lord fervently and if you haven’t come to know Jesus Christ and have Him pardon you of your sins, be sure to make that decision as soon as possible and get with someone who can help you, who understands this thing.
Shine: Well Chance on behalf of Holyculture.net, thank you for taking this time out to speak with us and continued success.
Follow Chances R at www.twitter.com/thechancesr
Download “Come closer” free at www.chances-r.bandcamp.com
View video “Holy Holy” by Chances R:
Written by Shine