Billed as “the happiest and saddest forces in music,” Chance The Rapper and The Weeknd share the cover for GQ magazines upcoming February issue. The two solo acts combine to form a duo that’s helped lead the charge for music with Chano championing the DIY spirit and Abel owning the charts with his last two releases.
The Weeknd’s accompanying profile will publish on Thursday, January 12 but Chance’s story is currently available. The conversation goes in depth as he talks about his longtime admiration for fellow Chicago native Kanye West, but makes it clear that he’s creating his own path as a musician, a person and social activist. “I don’t think I ever wanted to be like Kanye in personality,” he says. “I think I definitely want to, have always wanted to, have his boldness or assurance in myself. But I’ve definitely seen Kanye do things where I was like, ‘I’d never do that’ I’ve always been able to defend Kanye… Like when he went onstage with Taylor, I was like…well…Beyoncé kind of deserved that.”
He continued, “I’m rationalizing everything that he does, but I can’t say that in the same position I would do the same things… I always wanted to be more a person that people enjoy. Somebody that will make you laugh. I’m talking about just my personality, not necessarily how my music sounds. Because I believe I’m a disrupter like Kanye in a lot of ways.”
For Chance, Kanye became his idol and what he aspired to be because to him “rapper” meant peak blackness. The connotation is partly the influence for his stage name. “I thought Kanye West was the smartest man in the world,” Chance says. “The best poet in the world. The freshest-dressed in the world. That’s what a rapper was to me, and I wanted everybody to feel that way about the word ‘rapper.’”
The February issue of GQ will hit newsstands nationwide on January 24. Below, watch a short clip of Chance in the studio and check out both covers below, shot by Eric Ray Davidson for GQ.