Just a few weeks ago at the Grammies, Chancelor Bennett, better known as Chance the Rapper, took home several awards, including Best New Artist. In the growing scene of Chicago Rappers, Chance has become a beacon of hope for everybody. But more is going on in the Bennett household than just the workings of Chance; Taylor Bennett is a growing presence in the Chicago music scene, releasing his debut album, Broad Shoulders, in 2015. Bennett has proved himself as a musical talent and is here to make a name for himself with the release of his sophomore album, Restoration of an American Idol.
Bennett kicks off the album with “The Kid’s Alright,” an incredible track showing off not only his incredible ability to lay down bars with no struggle, but also the high production value this album has.
A slow piano beat is not what you expect to start off a normal rap song, but this is exactly what happens in “Roof Gone.” The piano playing throughout the track gives a great flow to the entire song, with my only complaint being that Bennett’s voice is a little too altered to cater to the melody he is trying to create.
On “Grown Up Fairy Tales”, the Bennett brothers team up with Jeremih to create a flawless track. Upbeat raps by Chance and smooth melodies sung by Jeremih are exquisitely complemented by the raspy voice of Taylor. With guest producer Mike Will Made It, who produced tracks like “Black Beatles” by Rae Sremmurd and G.O.O.D. Music’s “Mercy,” this track is a mixture of greatness from all parts of the rap scene.
“Favorite Colors” is the first track on the album that favors synth beats over a piano backing. This song features Kyle Harvey, who worked with Bennett’s older brother on the Social Experiment album, Surf. The song itself is great, but standing at only two minutes long, it is not given enough time to fully develop.
With the shakiness of ill-formed singing on “Roof Gone”, Bennett attempts a canorous chorus again, and this time he nails it. Not only can the man rap, but he can sing, and with effortless transitions, “Play My Part” becomes another excellent addition to the album.
In the summer of 2016, Bennett went through a health scare in New York, turning his hardship into the inspiration for “New York Nights.” Notably one of the best tracks on the album, this is reminiscent of “Broad Shoulders,” the title track from his previous album.
The momentum of well-crafted music continues with “Nobody Tell a Name.” Laid over a simple, effective beat, Raury joins the already amazing featuring artists on this album, and adds a smooth tone to the track, contrasting with Bennett to create a perfect mix. “On my Koji Kondo shit” – he says in reference to the Nintendo composer, showing that in the grand scheme of things, they’re all just here to have a fun time. With surprise appearances on tracks like “Neon Lights” from Supa Bwe and Lil Yachty, we see that Bennett has gotten only the best for his album features.
With his outro track, aptly named “Chi-Town Anthem,” Bennett ends the album on the best track possible. Featuring an incredible flow accompanied by pronounced synths, you can’t listen to this song without recognizing the immense power coming from it. Bennett has crafted a masterful homage to his hometown.
Restoration of an American Idol is a coming of age story. Since his previous works, Taylor Bennett has matured tremendously, and has put everything he has into this album. Only a month before release, Bennett came out as bisexual, and the overwhelming confidence to make that decision has been shown on this album.
“Chi-Town don’t die down”
He encapsulates what this entire album is about in a single line. For now, he is known as Chance the Rapper’s brother, but Taylor Bennett has proven himself worthy of his own spotlight. The Chicago Hip-Hop scene is one full of gifted individuals – Taylor Bennett is a worthy addition to it.