Chance the Rapper’s thid mixtape Coloring Book is finally out and it’s packed with big name features from artists like Kanye West, Future, Lil Wayne, Jay Electronica, Young Thug, T-Pain, Justin Bieber, and Kirk Franklin, among others. Aside from the A-list guests, Chance also enlisted the help from younger artists like Atlanta’s Lil Yachty and rising Chicago singer and producer Knox Fortune, who appears on the uptempo “All Night.”
You may not recognize the name, but that doesn’t mean that Knox Fortune, 23, hasn’t been working. Knox has released one solo song and has been producing for Joey Purp, Vic Mensa, and other members of Chicago’s SaveMoney crew for years. Stepping out from behind the scenes and into his own lane as a singer, Knox Fortune is looking forward to the next level of Chicago music. Complex spoke with Knox Fortune about his work on Coloring Book, his plans for his own career, and more.
How did the release of Coloring Book go last night?
We went out with everybody. It was a fun and crazy night. But it was really a wild day from very early in the morning.
How did you wind up on the project?
It’s super random. I sing and they’ve all heard what I’ve been working on and they love it. Then, like five days ago, Chance brought me that record, the Kaytranada one, and said, “Can you talk on that with like a British accent or some shit?” I was like, No, that shit’s not what I do. So I did my shit and brought it back to him, and he said, “This is hot as hell.” I didn’t think it was hot as hell, but he said it was going on the project. Now here we are.
What was your initial reaction when you first heard the song?
It was a little bit different. The beat was the same, but Chance was doing something a little bit different. He said, “Man, I got this idea about not wanting to give people a ride home.” So that was the idea and shit, and I didn’t really know what to talk about—I don’t even have a car. So I did my own thing and he was super fucking with it.
When did you know it was for sure on Coloring Book?
I didn’t really know until yesterday. I got my contract and everything emailed to me yesterday, and that’s when I realized. Pat [Chance’s manager] had been telling me since I did it that it was going to be on the project, but I thought he was gassing me. Yesterday we listened to the masters, my song came on, and I was like holy shit. My texts have been going crazy since it came out.
How does it feel to be featured on a project with Kanye West, Future, Jay Electronica, and other rap heavyweights?
Crazy. It’s a surprise. This is never how I saw this shit going. But I’ve been ready for it. I’ve been making hot shit with Chance and everybody for a minute now. It was a matter of time before it came together.
Tell me about your come up in music.
I used to work in a studio in the city with Vic Mensa. I was doing engineering and production stuff—I still do a lot of that, especially producing records. I worked with Leather Corduroys [on Seasons]. I’m doing Joey Purp’s new project. I’ve been part of the SaveMoney shit for like four, five years now. I met Chance pre Acid Rap. We kicked it and we’ve been hanging out, but this is one of the first times where we sat down and made a song.
Who are your influences?
I like the Beach Boys and Beastie Boys. The Beatles. A lot of my friends. Chance and Vic. Kanye.
What’s the movement in Chicago music right now?
Chicago is going to change music. I honesty believe that the way people make, release, and present music [to listeners] will shift. We’re in the middle of a big-ass shift. I see it with Chance’s shit, and I know Vic is going to do something similar.
How do you feel about the shift from drill music?
I think it’s really exciting. I love drill music, too. I love Chief Keef. It’s exciting with this project and the ones coming in the next couple of months. People don’t want to hear bullshit anymore. People don’t want to hear dumb-ass music that’s mindless, and these projects are really showing it. People want good ass music and that’s what we’re doing. It’s exciting to see people fuck with it.