Ten. Damn. Days.
If it weren’t for that ten-day suspension Chancellor Bennett’s senior year of high school, we would’ve never received 10 Day.
We probably still would’ve received a debut mixtape from Chance the Rapper at some point, but it would not have been called 10 Day. It would not have had the same appeal to his peers, who helped him spread #10Day across social media like wildfire. It would not have had the same authenticity or emotion to it, period.
Butterfly Effect shit is crazy, man. If Chance hadn’t gotten caught chiefing in his high school parking lot, there’s no telling if he would be the Chance the Rapper that he is now. For all we know, he could’ve ended up being Chance the Janitor if it weren’t for that fateful day. It seems ironic considering he got suspended for smoking, but it really did shape his future for the better. I guess Chance has earned himself a spot on the list of Most Influential Stoners (which i really wish there were actual power rankings for)
10 Day ignited Chance’s career. 10 Day serves as an undeniable display of natural talent and charisma in action. It’s obviously low-budget compared to Acid Rap and Coloring Book, but that DIY-sound serves as the aesthetic of 10 Day. It’s incredible DIY rap made by a group of high schoolers. It’s inspiring. I don’t even rap, but it makes me wanna fuck around and make a tape from the comfort of my apartment. 10 Day makes it seem fun and easy. All around, 10 Day is a fun and easy listen. It’s youthful, nostalgic, laidback and energetic all rolled into one; it’s the embodiment of a well-rounded project.
I find it sad that people don’t recognize 10 Day very much, but also understandable. As Chance didn’t really start to blow up until 2013’s masterpiece Acid Rap, 10 Day has always lived under the shadow of Acid Rap, Coloring Book, and even Surf. It also doesn’t help that 10 Day is nowhere to be found on any streaming service, unless you’re like me and downloaded it to your phone via DatPiff (only real ones know). For most people, 10 Day is an easy project to look past. Many don’t even know that it exists.
If I can do anything with this article, I just wanna shed some much-needed light on 10 Day. Without being up on 10 Day, it would be impossible to understand the true roots and evolution of Chance the Rapper.
10 Day was one of many pivotal projects to come out of the total rap renaissance in Chicago, circa 2012-15. This era of Chicago rap will go down in the history books. For the first time ever, Chicago began to steal shine from LA, NYC & ATL and establish itself as a rap powerhouse. Chief Keef, especially after receiving the help of Kanye, put Chicago on the map in 2012 as rap’s new tastemaker. Sosa got drill music to go from Englewood to the world; drill music quickly became the standard for rap hits. The explosion of drill music opened the door for too many to name: G Herbo, Lil Durk, Lil Bibby, King Louie, Lil Reese, Fredo Santana (RIP). However, the explosion of drill music also led to an explosion of violence and division in Chicago.
On the contrary, Chance the Rapper was becoming a budding star in his own right. All throughout high school, Chance and a number of his close collaborators performed at YouMedia, an event hosted by Chicago Public Library that gave local artists a platform. Chance and many of his collaborators were apart of the SaveMoney Collective; some notable SaveMoney names are Vic Mensa, Towkio, Joey Purp & KAMI (who used to be Leather Corduroys). Some other Chance collaborators were members of the band Kids These Days - a once quickly-rising Chicago indie band that broke up in 2013. Vic Mensa was apart of Kids These Days, as well as Nico Segal, aka Donnie Trumpet. Nico Segal is Chance’s right-hand man in Social Experiment- Chance’s backing band. Other members of Social Experiment, such as Peter Cottontale and Stix, were also close Chance collaborators in the early days.
Chance and his collaborators were doing something much different than the drill music that was taking over the city. Most of their music was positive; most of their music was meaningful in one way or another. These guys are all natural-born creatives; many of them went to Chicago’s finest magnet schools. They weren’t innocent; they still made plenty of music about drugs, sex, and petty crimes. But, they were almost doing it poetically. They were at least doing it in a way that was unique both sonically and lyrically. Chance was always the one who could do it best; 10 Day was really just the prototype for everyone to build off.
10 Day truly served as a trailblazer for the creative renaissance that began to pop off in Chicago, 2012. 10 Day is still unique to this day, but it was even more unique then since there was nothing else like it. 10 Day was not only the prototype for Acid Rap, but it was also the prototype for many projects to follow - Vic Mensa’s Innanetape, Mick Jenkin’s The Water[s], Alex Wiley’s Village Party. I’m not inferring that these projects ripped off 10 Day; these projects just smoothly built off the example that 10 Day set for Chicago artists. 10 Day is like the Chicago music equivalent of the first moon landing - it was a bit sketchy, but inspiring and permanently groundbreaking.
Now that I’ve tried my best to explain the cultural significance of 10 Day, let’s do a quick run thru of the 14-track masterpiece.
1.) 14,400 Minutes (prod. DJ SuchNSuch)
This uniquely wavy track features a young Chance recounting his suspension and general high school antics.
14,400 Minutes = 10 Days
This track perfectly sets the tone for the rest of the project - it gives the backstory, it familiarizes the listener with Chance as the protagonist, it shows Chance’s lyricism, it shows Chance’s versatility as an artist. This track is incredible.
This track gives me goosebumps. Chance poetically recounts his early childhood - paying homage to Rugrats, Gameboys, Spongebob, and Heads-Up 7-Up (i miss all that shit, man). This song is practically a collective memoir for everyone who was born in the 90s. The laidback, lo-fi beat further adds to the song’s nostalgia factor.
4.) Windows (feat. Alex Wiley & Akenya Seymour)
This song is the epitome of a teenage summer song. Chance honestly raps about his favorite summer activities - getting drunk, going to the beach, cruising blunts on Lake Shore Drive. Anyone who’s ever experienced the wonderful summertime Chi should have no issue relating to the sentiment of this track.
Alex Wiley had a tough verse on this, and Akenya Seymour’s vocals honestly make the track.
“I just wanna roll with my windows downnnnnn”
5.) Brain Cells (prod. Peter Cottontale)
This drug-influenced anthem is as beautiful and poetic as they come. Chance openly vents about life while leaving us with more questions than answers.
This song is poetry and philosophy intertwined, with a splash of acid.
Also, shoutout to Peter Cottontale for the perfectly-fitting instrumental; it makes the song even more wonderful.
6.) Long Time
In this upbeat, smoothly-sampled track, Chance looks back on his come up. He proudly speaks on all of the work he has put in, he thankfully looks back on everyone who was there for him, he excitedly reveals some of his future goals.
This track just makes me feel good. You can feel Chance’s happiness and pride through the music.
7.) 22 Offs
In one of Chance’s best lyrical displays to date, he tears up a Flying Lotus beat while dropping the word “off” 22 times. “22 Offs” is a tribute to Jay-Z’s “22 Twos” from Reasonable Doubt.
“I’m off the nog, I’m off the Loko
I’m off that local, I’m on the global
I often had dreams of being locked in my Momma’s Volvo
Watching the garage burn down, I’m off the codo
I’m off the top, I’m off some pot, I’m off Ciroc, I’m off a lot
They gave me 10 days off, that’s an awful lot”
*insert fire emojis*
9.) Family (feat. Vic Mensa & Sulaiman) [prod. Blended Babies]
On 10 Day’s most popular track, Chance and Vic trade off bars about their upbringings. Sulaiman is kinda just there, but he still did his thing. Chance and Vic really displayed their chemistry together on this track, establishing themselves as a dynamic duo.
The dynamic duo didn’t end up lasting too long, but it was fire while it lasted. Maybe they can team back up some day if Vic wants to stop being a cornball.
13.) Prom Night
“Prom Night” is the crown jewel of 10 Day; it serves as Chance’s best display of storytelling across the whole project. While the song is titled “Prom Night”, it is ironically about how Chance didn’t go to prom. Instead, it’s about the sacrifices that Chance has made for music and how bad he wants to succeed.