When you think of hip-hop what cities instantly come to mind? You probably didn’t say Nashville. The center of the country music world has opened itself up to be a hotbed of indie music in recent years with artists like The Weeks, The Kingston Springs and a bevy of others. But hip-hop and Nashville haven’t really gone hand in hand. It would take a unique, one of a kind artist to come up through the ranks of Music City and make a name for themselves. Enter Chancellor Warhol.
Like his name would suggest, Chance is that unique, one of a kind artist who’s been able to carve a niche in the Nashville scene, bringing an eclectic sound that’s help bridge the gap between Nashville and hip-hop.
“Warhol is the perennial artist of pop culture… The best at making things cool. Everyday products like Brillo pads and soup became cool when Warhol painted them. So when I approach music with that same mindset I want to bring something to hip-hop culture and pop culture that’s cool and long lasting… I’m giving you more than the norm and that’s what Warhol did.” – Chance
Chancellor has a history of doing just that with The Silver Factory serving as an introduction to the man being the mic and Playlist For Edie, the mixtape where he took on the music of indie darlings like M83 and pop hearthrobs like Lana Del Rey and left his mark on each track. On “MDNT CTY” he drops one of the best opening lines an tape can have with “Wayfarers and Tylenol, last night we did it all…” a sentiment shared with anyone who aspires to live life to the fullest.
He continues to define who he is on his latest release, Paris Is Burning, a heartfelt journey into the mind grapes of Warhol. “I feel it’s who I am creatively at the moment, shows my growth,” Chancellor says. “It’s very artistic in the sense that it’s made to be performed live in art spaces and presented as such. It’s my most honest project to date and evokes a mood throughout.” It shows plenty of that aforementioned growth while still leaving room for the ever changing direction Chance is taking himself in. No matter what direction that is, this is a detailed portrait of who he is right now. “…I”m just giving you my life on canvas.”
If Chancellor’s words evoke images of Pharrell and Kanye, there’s a reason. Chance’s story starts when he and his producer in crime, Ducko Mcfli were selling a couch on Craigslist and Warhol was paying the bills as a high-end menswear buyer (he’s working on a clothing line called Youth of Versailles), debating on whether to head north to NYC. “Kanye’s Graduation has just come out so Ducko was trying out new sounds and me being the music weirdo/black sheep of the hip-hop scene in town I was instantly moved. I was into art, fashion, punk rock, anime, etc. I was the Pharrell in our crew… Long story short, one day I sold a couch on Craigslist and when the guy came to pick it up Ducko was at my house making beats and the dude spazzed out! Just so happens he was a promoter. We played our first show as The NOBOTS and the rest is history.”
In hindsight, NYC wouldn’t have produced the same Chancellor Warhol that Nashville did. The new Nashville is as vast and unique as Warhol himself and he’s at the forefront of that shift. “The best thing about Nashville right now is that we are entering a renaissance phase with artist, musicians, photographers, etc. We are the next Harlem Renaissance just watch! NY is always an attractive move, but I love being able to visit these other places and coming back home, because that way I can bring more culture and ideas to my city… especially the hip hop scene. I just did my homie A Loco’s album cover! It’s like no other! I just want to help the hip hop movement here as much as possible because there is a lot of talent people don’t know about yet.”
Of course, being seen as an eclectic artist in the hip-hop world can often be a double edged sword. Especially one who’s as open and honest with his art as Chancellor is. “Doesn’t really bother me,” says Chancellor. “I grew up on N.E.R.D., Nirvana just as much as I did 3 6 Mafia and Biggie. I don’t feel like it’s saying fuck you when your just doing what comes natural. I’m more of the Pharrell type in that sense of I’m in to all types of culture I just so happen to be from less than favorable beginnings. I’ve had drug dealers, straight hoods tell me they rock with my stuff as well as heavy metal rockers and hipsters alike. As far as people saying I’m not hip-hop it’s usually the same people that hate on Gambino for the same reasons.”
He’s made a conscious effort to give the finger to those who either say he’s not hip-hop or that he’s too hip-hop. “My go to collaborators are BoyGenius (BASECAMP, ERIK Hassle, BLACK BEAR), My Kid Brother a.k.a. Josh Crosby (Allie X, Shonlock)… but I like what I like when I hear it.” He goes on to give a list or artists he’s inspired by that spans from John Lennon and Daft Punk to Childish Gambino, Q-Tip and Biggie. He’s opened for Kendrick Lamar in Nashville and he’s played shows with Moon Taxi and The Kingston Springs. Like the original, Warhol is an artist, plain and simple.
That artistry will come full circle in August when Chance performs at the Andy Warhol Museum. “That’s bucket list status,” says Chance. “It will be fucking insane. I met with one of the curators at a festival in Vegas and mutual interest made it happen. It is definitely at the top of my list of accomplishments… and I’ve played Sundance and Lolla!” He plans to bring that feeling to the rest of his upcoming tour. “Like I mentioned before, I want to bring a visual art concept to people. We built this 18ft Eiffel Tower, etc… It’s crazy! You’ve got to see it to believe it.”
From the best Craigslist furniture deal ever to meeting a couple of his idols in Pharrell and Chad Hugo, Chacellor Warhol is a living art project. Have we seen his final
“I’m currently working on a short film, Kubrick style. It’ll be very crazy but artistic of course.”