I Traced Chance The Rapper’s Musical Lineage To Scott Joplin


Chance the Rapper has been the focus of many different conversations, whether it is about his music to funding public education. One thing that I like to do with popular mainstream artists, is research their musical lineage. I decided to do that with Chance and was quite intrigued with the results.

I began my research by reading an article from Complex Magazine where Chance was asked about some of his favorite artists and he provided the magazine with a list of 25 of his favorite albums that influenced his career. Out of those 25 albums, I picked three artists that he mentioned:

Michael Jackson


Michael Jackson – Bad  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Sd4SJVsTulc





Jay-Z – Reasonable Doubt https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UFCwp0pqRj8





Lauryn Hill – The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill





From there, I begin to trace their influential roots using the All Music Guide. It can be such an eye-opening experiencing listening to the different artists via one’s musical lineage. If you are an open-minded music fan, then you may discover some hidden treasures.

For Lauryn Hill and Michael Jackson, they shared some similar musical influences, one of those influences being the lovely:

Diana Ross

Diana Ross









For Jay-Z, one of his cited influences is:LL Cool J

LL Cool J – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NEUX-HYRtUA

Diana Ross and Jay-Z do not share any musical influences (to no one’s surprise).






One of Diana Ross’ cited musical influences is:


Billie Holiday






The Sugarhill GangAs for LL Cool J, it is:

The Sugarhill Gang https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mcCK99wHrk0

As we continue to trace their musical influences, The Sugarhill Gang cites Curtis Mayfield as a musical influence:




Curtis Mayfield

Curtis Mayfield https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-cmo6MRYf5g






For Billie Holiday, one of her cited influences was the Godmother of Rock & Roll:


Sister Rosetta Tharpe – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SR2gR6SZC2M







Nat King Cole

Next, we look at one of Curtis Mayfield’s musical influences, Mr. Unforgettable himself:

Nat King Cole – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Fy_JRGjc1To






As for the Godmother of Rock and Roll, Sister Rosetta Tharpe, one of her cited influences was the Queen of Gospel Music:

mahalia-jacksonMahalia Jackson – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Uzd4Xu_cwTo






Fats Waller


For Nat King Cole, one of his major musical influences was legendary pianist:

Fats Waller – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PSNPpssruFY






As for the Original Queen of Gospel, Mahalia Jackson, one of her cited musical influences is:

Bessie SmithBessie Smith – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6MzU8xM99Uo





Fats Waller was influenced by a man who may be best known for a melody used by many ice cream trucks across the country, Famous Ragtime Pianist:


Scott Joplin






It should be noted that if I had chosen some of Chance’s other musical influences, the results would have been a bit different. For instance, if I had chosen James Brown as one of Michael Jackson’s influences, we may have ended up with Robert Johnson being one of the roots of Chance’s musical lineage.  Trace the musical lineage of your favorite artist and share the results with us!



Brother Jacob

“Host of Blues and News with Brother Jacob” every Sunday, from 6 pm – 8 pm on UIC Radio.


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