Taylor Bennett knew he’d always be seen as Chance the Rapper’s little brother, but as the young up-and-coming rap artist continues to make his own mark in the music scene, he’s discovered new parts of himself.
Including his sexuality.
It has been more than a year since Bennett announced to his followers that he was bisexual, but what many didn’t know at the time, was that his Twitter announcement was also how he came out to his family.
“I actually didn’t come out to my family. I came out to everybody at the same time which is one of the craziest I guess coming out stories,” he told NBC 5. “I came out to everybody on Twitter. So I typed this up and put this out and the crazy thing and also funny thing is that when people started texting me they weren’t like ‘oh my god why didn’t you tell me?’ they were texting me like ‘Is this real? I think somebody hacked your account.’ For the first five or 10 minutes I had an opportunity to either back out of it or keep going with it and the only reason why I kept going is because my fans showed me so much love and compassion I knew I could do this. And I knew there was a wave of people that needed me to be that and to fight the front lines for them so that’s just how I went out."
It’s a message reflected strongly in his new EP “Be Yourself.”
“When you wake up and you say that you feel that you have a purpose and you have something that you’re fighting for and for me I felt like that was openness and open-mind creativity not just in the hip hop community but also in the African America community and in the world as well and that’s why I decided that I wanted to do Be Yourself,” he said.
The title is largely about his story, but it’s also an ode to a message his mother repeated to him growing up.
“My mom always says, ‘Be sober, be honest, and be yourself,’” he said.
Words Bennett says he tries to live by.
And it’s that mentality he believes has led him, and his celebrity brother, to success.
Bennett, who will appear Monday on “The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon,” is expected to headline Lollapalooza, his first major Chicago festival and arguably the biggest music fest in the city. He said he waited for a reason.
“I’ve never played North Coast, I’ve never played Pitchfork - this is my first Chicago festival and I did it like that on purpose,” he said. “I knew that I wanted to have that one big show when I felt like I was ready in my career to give my fans and give the listeners what they deserve. I think that I’m at that point now where I’m just excited to see what happens. We’ve got a big show in store.”
2018 Chicago Summer Festival Guide
So will there be a surprise family appearance at this year’s fest? Maybe, he says.
“You guys should come to Lollapalooza, maybe Chance will pop out, maybe Jeremih will pop out,” he said.
See more of his interview below, including his favorite places in Chicago and the artists he’s watching for.
Q: What are your top five favorite places to eat in Chicago?
B: I love RPM Italian, very great people over there, very friendly. Connie’s pizza, 22 South Archer, that’s my family’s restaurant. We know everybody basically there. You know, Portillo’s, Harold’s, Nini’s Deli.
Q: Who are the top local or national up-and-coming artists you’re watching right now?
B: Well, for Chicago, you’ve got Zxxk, who is clearly – he was featured in “Rock ’N Roll. That’s my boy, he’s just going crazy. Bianca Shaw, of course. Forever Band, he’s on the Billboard for the new Top 25 right now, which is crazy. With Chance the Rapper, Supa Bwe - Wala Camp, which is the track he just dropped. Outside on a national basis now, Dice Soho. He’s from Houston, Texas, he signed with Mike Dean, one of Kanye’s like top producers.
Q: Do you know what song you’ll be playing on “The Tonight Show”?
B: Can’t say. You’ll have to watch and find out.
Q: Do you feel like you’ve been behind Chance and now you’re out in front?
B: You’re always going to be that little sibling. No amount of fame, no amount of money, no amount of press- none of that will change it. That’s just the reality. I think that in terms of a musician, I think chance is amazing. I’m still growing. I think that be yourself is a huge step toward who Taylor Bennett really is but you I’m still finding myself. I still have a really large journey to go.
Q: What does he say about your music?
B: I get little things from Chance because we try not to talk about work so much. But you know when we’re in the studio doing little plug like sessions, he’ll might be like run that back, you know what I’m saying, or play that again. Those things from Chance mean a lot to me because as you he might be my brother, he is also still the biggest independent artist in the world. And there’s a lot to always learn from somebody like that.