You've heard Chet Haze rap on the Northwestern anthem-turned-viral-video, “White and Purple,” and now you can see Haze — aka Chet Hanks, son of actors Tom Hanks and Rita Wilson — perform live in Chicago for the first time.
The 20-year-old Northwestern University junior will take the stage at Enclave nightclub in River North Friday, the same day his famous father promotes his upcoming film, “Larry Crowne” in Chicago.
Haze performed live at the South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas, in March and has performed on Northwestern's Evanston campus. Although his dad is by no means a hip-hop fan, the “Big” and “Forrest Gump” star has seen his son perform and is supportive of his music.
“(Rap) might not be his cup of tea,” said Haze over the phone on Monday, “but he appreciates all forms of music.” Will Tom Hanks be on hand Friday to see him perform? Haze would only say: “I don't know. Maybe, maybe not.”
Haze, who studies theater at Northwestern and appeared in the films “Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull” and “Bratz: The Movie,” said he has been writing rap lyrics for three years. He started recording music last September in a downtown Chicago studio and said he is more than halfway done on an eight- to 10-song EP, which he expects to put out sometime this summer.
The Los Angeles native's big music break came when he released “White and Purple,” a remix of Wiz Khalifa's “Black and Yellow” ode to Pittsburgh, in January. Haze admitted even he was surprised by all the attention given to the song. “I didn't think it would blow up like it did,” Haze said. “It was really exciting. Within two days, it hit a half-million hits.”
Haze rhymes about college life on “White and Purple,” including women, alcohol and weed: “White kicks, purple kush/This is college, hitting blunts after hitting books/Soon as I hit The Keg, dudes be getting shook/Start looking for your girl or she getting took.”
What does his family think of his lyrics?
“They take it with a grain of salt,” Haze said. “It's about living the college life. It's a fun party song. They understand. They know my music is my way of expressing myself. I'm rapping about my own experiences.”
Of course, Haze has dealt with his fair share of critics, including Howard Stern. He understands that was to be expected considering his Hollywood upbringing.
“I come from an affluent family,” Haze said. “It's not the typical (background) for a hip-hop artist. But it's 2011. The nature of hip-hop has changed so much the last few years. Nowadays artists come from all walks of life. Everyone has their own story to tell.”