This is where it all started: the first-ever project from Lil Chano from 79th, recorded during a 10-day suspension from Jones College Prep High School and released as a free download on the mixtape sites of yore. Even if you hadn’t yet heard of the ambitious Chancelor Bennett back in the spring of 2012, it was clear that 10 Day marked the arrival of someone special. A soulful, thoughtful journey through an 18-year-old Chance’s Chicago, it's full of wide-eyed ruminations on life, loss, and memory, set to the kind of shuffling soul beats befitting a kid who’d grown up on The College Dropout.
“I think back to being in fourth grade listening to the whole album where these kids are telling me, 'Don't get a degree,'” Chance told Apple Music's Nadeska in 2019. “I'm going to a college preparatory school in downtown Chicago, which looks completely different than 79th Street in Chicago, and just experiencing all this stuff I haven't accessed in a crazy way.”
Chance had come up in the city’s youth-focused poetry and open mic scene, but here it felt like he’d emerged from thin air with the intricate lyricism of a seasoned pro: Bars like “Here’s a tab of acid for your ear/You’re the plastic, I’m the passion and the magic in the air” on “Brain Cells” made you sit up straighter and take note. More than anything, though, the tape feels like a love letter to Chicago from one of the city’s most instantly beloved new voices: It exploded with references to Oak Street Beach, the Low End, Connie’s Pizza, juke jams, Crucial Conflict, The Cool Kids. It was the beginning of a new rap movement, not just in his own city but worldwide, and it sounds just as crucial today as it did back in 2012.