San Diego State University’s Independent Student Newspaper Since 1913

The Daily Aztec

San Diego State University’s Independent Student Newspaper Since 1913

The Daily Aztec

San Diego State University’s Independent Student Newspaper Since 1913

The Daily Aztec

Chicago rapper Taylor Bennett puts on a show in Music Appreciation Night

Ryan Hardison
Chicago rapper Taylor Bennett, younger brother of Chance The Rapper, performed virtually for students during Music Appreciation Night.

What does self-acceptance mean to you? 

The answer is probably different for a lot of people, but for Chicago rapper Taylor Bennett – it means making the music industry a better place for himself and other independent artists. 

Self-acceptance is a common topic in his music and Bennett said he understood early on that having a widespread platform as a musician means he has lots of responsibility when it comes to discussing these issues.

“I think it’s really important for us to speak on many things that not a lot of artists in the music industry or entertainment business even politicians might not say,” Bennett said.

Bennett briefly appeared via Zoom for Music Appreciation night on Oct. 6. The event was presented by Associated Students and the Aztec Student Union board, offering a chance for students to enjoy a soothing show from the Chicago MC.

Bennett was visibly excited to perform, despite it being a bit unusual to rap for a silent audience. 

“It feels so great to be back to be performing, and with so much on in the world, it’s really the little moments that count and I’ve been learning that a lot lately,” Bennett said.

The event began with an intimate concert from his Chicago studio where he performed the nostalgic and uplifting tracks “Dancing in the Rain,” and “Broad Shoulders,” along with his inspiring new single “Be Yourself. Pt. 2.”

Taylor Bennett performed a bevy of songs, including his inspiring new single “Be Yourself. Pt. 2.”  (Ryan Hardison) 

Following his performance, Bennett answered various questions about his personal life and his view of the music industry in a one-on-one Q&A session moderated by ASUB Music and Entertainment Chair Jano Paredes. 

Bennett spoke in length about how he remains especially close with his family in Chicago, including his older brother Chancellor, better known as Grammy award-winning artist Chance the Rapper. 

Outside of his own music career, Bennett manages Chance, so the brothers are often in each others’ lives. 

“I probably see him at least three or four times a week, so if he‘s working then I’m working,” Bennett said.

Aa a prolific independent artist who has been able to sell out shows and play large gigs without a major deal, Bennett has achieved a lot in his young career. Some of Bennett’s favorite musical experiences include performing in front of 20,000 people at Chicago’s Lollapalooza festival in 2018, and being an ambassador for the 2020 NBA All-Star Game in Chicago along with his older brother.

“Growing up in Chicago and playing Lollapalooza is just a dream come true as an artist because it’s the biggest music festival in Chicago,” Bennett said.

When asked about what advice he had for aspiring musicians in the audience, Bennett made it clear there are many possible avenues to becoming a successful artist. Musicians just need to find opportunities that suit them and carry out a plan to achieve their goals. 

“There’s a lot of people who think they need to chase a deal to make something happen … you can be successful but you have to continuously be successful in various opportunities in various ways, ” Bennett said.

Furthermore, Bennett strongly advocated for the widespread use of independent distribution platforms which in turn help rising musicians post their music on streaming platforms like Spotify, Apple Music and Tidal. 

Also, he encouraged young artists to share their social media accounts as more than just a means to distribute their music. For example, someone who has a fashion line or another interesting passion can market that along with their songs.

After years of being an independent artist, Bennett recently started his own independent label, Taylor Bennett Entertainment. (Ryan Hardison)

After years of distributing his music, carrying out his own marketing, and performing public relations duties for himself, Bennett decided to start his own independent label, Taylor Bennett Entertainment. He says the problem with a lot of the major labels is they represent so many artists that everyone has to get their fair share. 

As a proprietor of his own label, Bennett wants to help revolutionize the industry.

“I hope to bring in other artists and educate them on the business and hopefully make their careers,” Bennett said.

The music video for “Be Yourself, Pt. 2” will be released on Friday, Oct. 16. You can listen to the single here.

About the Contributor
Ryan Hardison, Arts & Culture Editor
Ryan Hardison is a senior studying journalism, sociology and history.
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San Diego State University’s Independent Student Newspaper Since 1913
Chicago rapper Taylor Bennett puts on a show in Music Appreciation Night