Chance the Rapper takes on City Hall
Native son Chance the Rapper is making good on his vow to bring “diverse voices” to his Chicagoist relaunch.
Born Chancellor Bennett, Chance offers the platform’s renewed foray into the world of investigative journalism with a nearly 15-minute satirical video posted to You Tube where he, as Champ Bennett, seeks to answer burning questions about what it means to be a Chicago alderman.
Donned in his best journalist digs—including rimmed glasses, wig and mustache—Bennett takes to the streets, conducting several man-on-the-street interviews where he presses unsuspecting passersby with a series of questions such as what does an alderman do, how is one elected and how candidates with less resources can be expected to survive.
Finally, Chance finds himself face to face with the city’s longest-serving alderman and City Council member, played by fellow Chicagoan and comedian “Al Duhrman” from the city’s make-believe 51st Ward, who quickly goes about the business of schooling him on the rules of the game.
“It’s a lot that goes into my time. We honor our police and firefighters at City Council. Take care of them potholes on the West Side, permits, block club parties, awnings, liquor license. If you want to start a bar, you want a liquor license, you gotta pay me off. People call my office about those boots on their car. It’s not my fault you didn’t pay your parking tickets. Now your Altima has a canary-yellow Timberland. Pay them parking tickets. They’re a different department than me. Wish they put four on your @#&# car. Pay your tickets, s—.”
Later, when Duhrman boasts of being a member of both the Black Caucus and the “Just Vote Yes Caucus,” where he “just votes yes” to “any piece of legislation that comes my way,” Bennett ponders just how much of it is for style rather than substance.
The Sun-Times describes the Duhrman character as “a thinly veiled version of Ald. Ed Burke,” who after nearly five decades in office and more than 30 years of leading the powerful city Finance Committee recently saw his City Council and ward offices raided by federal agents.
In all, eight candidates for different city offices appear in the video, which after just 48 hours of being online generated almost 90,000 views.
Chance’s purchase of Chicagoist become official in July when he shouted out the transaction in the lyrics of his song “I Might Need Security.”
Before then, the website had been shuttered since late 2017.
“I look forward to re-launching it and bringing the people of Chicago an independent media outlet focused on amplifying diverse voices and content,” Bennett said at the time.