It has been said that “complacency is the enemy of greatness.” It creeps in when one let’s their guard down and creates a cosmetic sense of security that allows for the overindulgence. Whether it be with jobs, lovers or higher education; everyone must come to that moment of truth to decide whether or not they are ready to take on the challenges that lies ahead or retire to the comforts that they are granted. While it is certainly a difficult exercise of self awareness and foresight, it can be especially terrifying to venture out on your own after remaining in the same role for years. Such was the obstacle of MC Chance York.
Formerly Slim Chance of the revered band, Crunchy Kids, the four piece has delighted fans from countless stages with their brand of jazz fusion Hip Hop. Taking his part as the captivating dreadlocked front man, Chance has quietly gained a place within the Twin Cities hierarchy of Hip Hop elite for his free minded observations and organic rhyme style akin to the insightful Hieroglyphics crew. After years of lending his talents on the mic for Crunchy Kids and their former outfit, Parallax, it seems that he is ready to make the leap into the enticing world as a solo artist.
“With the challenges that come from being a professional musician,” said Chance York, “it’s always good to have multiple shows or products. If I was just Chance York or just Crunchy Kids, you can only do that so many times in one place before people want something different. It’s also about diversifying what I can do. I like working with different people. And when it comes time for someone to book me, they can book either one of my acts and look at the kind of show they want.”
Making the leap into the fast paced world of being a solo artist can be frustrating at first as the initial steps can seem so daunting of a task, yet Chance recognized that he did not need to stray to far from home on his first time out by following in the footsteps of his Crunchy pal, Eric Mayson. As the Twin Cities’ favorite multi-instrumentalist gained recognition by supporting many of the state’s favorite musicians, the time came for Mayson to venture out as a solo artist with last year’s gem Details. Blending together lush R&B with the driving synthy rock of yester-year, mixed down to a tape reel format; it became one of the most celebrated releases of 2015. Supported by the newly formed RiverRock Studios record label, this opened the door for Chance to make his move.
“Mayson got the deal at RiverRock and we decided to build off of that. Then we decided that I should put out a solo record…We spend a lot of times working together on music. Whether it’s for Crunchy Kids or for his own solo project, we just had a lot of mutual time together to make music. So we had a little time and proximity so it just felt natural cause we’re hanging out and decided to make it.”
The result of this time together was the Fed And Famished EP. Produced by Eric Mayson, this six track release features Chance taking on direct approach to broad perspectives over eerily ethereal instrumentation. Clocking in just under 15 minutes, it transports listeners to a realm of consciousness that unites all to appreciate the truth that lies between the two points of conflict. Created in a moment of haste, Chance York will verify that the project came together as a collection of new and the old.
“I think we had five demos written and put together before going to the studio. I remember recording the first demos for ‘Harden in the Paint‘ and ‘Good Touch’ then basically recording the rest of it at the studio. The ‘Learned‘ verse was a trashed Crunchy Kids song that we snatched up and made into a new song. We work quick and we keep everything in house. It was all written beforehand so we can go in there and knock it out because RiverRock ain’t cheap.”
Along with playing to the studio bill, Chance also needed to work on a deadline for his first solo performance for the Kids Like Us Farewell Show. In a fast paced turn of events resulting from performing Crunchy Kids songs on his own as part of SXSW, the opportunity to mark his solo debut fell into his lap before the project was even recorded. As the two rushed to finish up a set’s worth of new material, the time came to step before the sold out crowd at the legendary First Avenue 7th St Entry. Although it had it’s bumps and bruises, Chance remained optimistic through it all.
“That original show was the raw product, completely unrefined. And the people went apeshit for it. It was my first time on a familiar stage feeling like it was my first show all over again. I remember that I fucked up the first one like 3 times in a row and kept playing it off. And that’s what made it fun.”
Soon the word got out that one of the most established MCs in the Cities was on his own, offers for shows and features began to pour in. With opening slots and pop up guest features in various concerts, his name quickly found its way on multiple bills throughout 2016 and has been met with much acclaim.
“I’ve been doing this music thing for a decade and now that I’m doing this solo thing, everyone’s like woah and putting me on shows. There’s an ease of putting me on stage for one song to practice my craft and rap for one minute. The flexibility is capitalizing on all the work that I’ve done with the band, now it’s just way easier to get on those stages and hearing from the different crowds.”
With all of this in place, Chance York has decided to make like Drake and lay claim to all of summer ’16 with heavy rotation of releases to continue to gain more momentum. This all starts as he will show off the strides that he has made with the Fed And Famished EP Release Party on Wednesday, May 11th at Honey Nightclub. Marking his first solo headlining debut, he has decided to make it a family affair by recruiting the help of Eric Mayson, Mike The Martyr, DJ Sophia Eris and hosted by Kendra Vie Boheme. Even though this moment has been months in the making, the celebration will continue on the following week as the Crunchy Kids have announced that their upcoming EP, Crop will be dropping on May 18th. The party will waste no time waiting around as the band will reunite at the Icehouse on Friday, May 20th with help from Doks Robotiks and DJ Sarah White with special guests gracing the stage throughout the evening. With all of this in place, Chance is excited to explore new sounds in the coming months and showcase everything that he has been working on.
“Me and Mike The Martyr have been working on a new EP. The release date is unknown, but there will be a rapid turnaround as I’m trying to release EPs all summer. I’ve been working with various producers and making multiple features for friends that rap too. With this project and Crunchy Kids project, we’re not trying to have any features just so we can keep the original feel between the four of us.”
As everything continues to fall into place, it would be modest to look forward to his summer worth of releases. After a decade of playing dues, it appears that Chance York has finally made a proper name for himself within the vast Twin Cities Hip Hop scene as it seems that he is not ready to rest anytime soon. It is that same drive that shows that he truly is hungry for greatness.
Fed And Famished is available for download for free on his website. The Fed And Famished EP Release Party is happening Wednesday, May 11th at Honey and the Crunchy Kids Crop EP Release Party slated for Friday, May 20th at Icehouse. Be sure to keep up with Chance York on his website, Twitter, Facebook and Soundcloud.