Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Are You Onto Chance The Rapper's Brother Taylor Bennett?

During SXSW, I pushed through the throngs of sixth street meanderers to make it to OG Chicago rapper Rhymefest's show, only to arrive a little early to catch his opener Taylor Bennett. The name rang a bell, but with a perpetually dead phone and unknowing bystanders, I knew nothing else about the guy.

My initial (far away, beer-buzzed) reaction to the dimly lit, sparsely attended showcase was pure shock, because I thought we were being treated to a surprise Chance the Rapper set, and that people should have been losing their damn mind. The soft, quick rhymes and piano-jazz instrumentals, paired with the identical appearance and mannerisms - all of it - clearly it wasn't actually Chance, but the whole thing was so mind-blowingly uncanny. And then I remembered Chance(lor)'s real last name is Bennett, so, I was watching someone in the family.

After moving past the head tilts and eye squints, it became clear that catching a Taylor Bennett - not Chance the Rapper's brother - show was something pretty special. Sure, partly because the brothers' musical and physical similarities were kind of fascinating, but more so because Bennett has an undeniably distinct flavour and drive.

His debut album Broad Shoulders is 10 sample-free songs that feature Donnie Trumpet, King Louie and Chance, to name a few, and were produced in collaboration with Detroit producer Ludlow. They're upbeat but unadorned, and allow Bennett the spotlight he needs to carve his own path as an incredible wordsmith and live performer. Even though he knocked all 24 socks in the crowd off, there's no way the 20 year-old rapper is going to be playing for a dozen people for much longer.

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