Upon meeting Taylor Bennett, anyone can tell he’s in the music industry for all of the right reasons — the pure passion and joy of it. The hip-hop artist and little brother to Chance the Rapper is traveling across the country promoting his music, particularly his new single “Minimum Wage.”
“I wrote it for the youth, I remember working those summer camp jobs and stuff like that and barely making any money,” Bennett told CASSIUS. “There’s so many different things to just get into and the main goal is to just make money. Based on that reason, people get to places they don’t want to be.”
When Bennett caught up with CASSIUS, he had just arrived in New York City on the second day of his “Restoration of an American Idol” Tour. As an artist who prioritizes his craft and connection with his people first, he cites being able to connect with his fans as what he’s most excited for.
“Last night we were just talking about how artists, when we’re on stage they don’t get to connect with our fans as much as I think we should,” he said. “I got used to getting on stage and just rapping for 40 minutes straight and talking to people at merch. That’s not what I want my shows to be like. I want them to be more intimate with my fans and I want to talk to them.”
Bennett let his fans in last year when he came out as bisexual, but admits that while he accepts claiming this identity is important, he doesn’t think it should define who he is.
“It’s a big thing but at the same time it’s something that should be normal,” he said. “I shouldn’t be a main headline for different outlets because of it. More than a statement, it should be a lesson to people that anyone could be bi or gay, but a lot of times people aren’t woke to it.”
Bennett’s artistry is an honest and true tribute to his hometown of Chicago, a city that has grown many of the people he admires today, including Kanye West, Common, Lupe Fiasco, and of course, Chance. With hip-hop being in a place where it can be tempting to ride the waves of a trend, the 22-year-old lyricist said his bars wouldn’t look the same without Chi-town’s rich, multi-layered influence.
“Chicago youth are rebellious — they break out of the walls of their neighborhoods that our city has confined us to,” he explained. “In other cities, that’s not so hard to explore outside your neighborhood, but in Chicago it’s very segregated. It’s crazy that there can be so much culture in a city. I wouldn’t be the same person and I wouldn’t be the same artist either.”
As Bennett continues on his nationwide tour and connects with his fans on a more intimate level, there’s one thing we know for sure — he’ll continue to go hard for his city, like a true Chicago kid does. This is only the beginning.