The Chicago MC opened with a breathless rendition of "How Great," spitting the track over the chilling background vocals of gospel stars Kirk Franklin and Tamela Mann. A full band and choir joined the trio as Chance transitioned into "All We Got," bounding across the stage as he tore through the Coloring Book opener with ecstatic joy.
The performance capped off a historic night for Chance, who grabbed seven nominations and won three Grammys, Best New Artist, Best Rap Performance for "No Problem" and Best Rap Album for Coloring Book. The wins cemented the beginning of a new era for the Grammys, which nominated the digital-only Coloring Book amidst a new rule change that made streaming-only albums eligible, where in the past only traditionally released, physical albums were considered.
Speaking with Rolling Stone about the rule change, National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences President Neil Portnow said, "We wanted to make sure somebody wasn't disenfranchised or excluded just because of the technicality of a distribution format."
Chance, for his part, even predicted Coloring Book would shift the paradigm on Kanye West's "Ultralight Beam" (which also picked up two Grammys noms). On the track, Chance rapped, "He said let's do a good ass job with Chance three/ I hear you gotta sell it to snatch the Grammy/ Let's make it so free and the bars so hard/ That there ain't one gosh darn part you can't tweet."
|Chicago's Chance the Rapper made history Sunday at the Grammy Awards.|
Chance the Rapper’s Worshipful Grammy Performance
Tonight, Chance the Rapper took home Grammy’s for Best New Artist, Best Rap Album and Best Rap Performance, but he was also responsible for one of the night’s most memorable performances.
During the mashup of songs from Coloring Book, Chance, along with Kirk Franklin, employed a full gospel choir, at one point leading the crowd in a worshipful rendition of “How Great Is Our God.”
It was a powerful moment.
Chance the Rapper's historic Grammy night ends with star-studded party
Chance the Rapper punctuated his historic night at the Grammys Sunday with a spirited medley of "How Great" and "All We Got," off his Grammy-winning "Coloring Book" project.
The 23-year-old Chicago rapper won three Grammy awards -- his first ever -- for best new artist, rap album and rap performance. Though Chance is certainly not a new artist, especially not in Chicago, he garnered seven Grammy nominations after the Recording Academy relaxed its eligibility rules last year to allow works released via streaming platforms.
"Glory be to God. I claim this victory in the name of the Lord," Chance said in accepting his award for best new artist. "I want to thank God for my mother and my father, who supported me since I was young, for Kirsten, for Kensli, for all of Chicago, and I want to thank God for putting amazing people in my life."
Some of those people joined Chance, born Chancelor Bennett and raised on the South Side, at his GQ after-party presented by YouTube. Katy Perry, Snoop Dogg, Chrissy Teigen and John Legend were among the celebrities who attended the bash at the Chateau Marmont.
Also in attendance was Chance's brother, Chicago rapper Taylor Bennett, who got a shoutout in Chance's acceptance speech for best rap album. "Coloring Book," which was released in May, beat "The Life of Pablo," the album by Chance's mentor, Kanye West.
Chance also won for best rap performance for "No Problem" with 2 Chainz and Lil Wayne.
Chance was also nominated for rap/sung performance (for his work on West's "Ultralight Beam"); and rap song for "No Problem," "Ultralight Beam" and West's "Famous." Drake won both categories for "Hotline Bling."
Chance's wins come after a stellar year, which included hosting a one-day festival on the South Side, performing on "Saturday Night Live" and multiple visits to the White House.
Chance thanked God after accepting each Grammy, but his remarks about his family differed among the three speeches.
It was a bit of a surprise that Chance gave a nod to his on-again, off-again girlfriend Kirsten Corley on the Grammys stage since Chance's attorneys filed paperwork in Cook County court last week seeking to work out a parenting schedule and child support with Corley, the mother of Kensli, who turns 17 months old Thursday.
Attorneys for both sides, who are in the "process of establishing separate residences," met in court Friday for a brief, but tense hearing. Another hearing is scheduled for next month.
Chance seemed to acknowledge the legal tussle in an Instagram post last week that featured a picture of his daughter. "I wouldn't have her without her mother, so thank you for creating and raising the greatest gift I've ever received," he wrote in the caption. "Cannot wait to get back to this."