We loved Surf, but as the group was adamant about pointing out, it was a Social Experiment album, not Chance The Rapper’s highly awaited follow up to Acid Rap.
So when was Chano's new album going to drop? Was it finished? Had it even been started?
Details were scarce, but tucked inside a new interview with the Wall Street Journal was this gem:
Chance’s next album likely will drop whenever the rapper, who will be touring for the next two months, decides the time is right.
Well, there you go. Looks like we'll be getting Chance's next album in the same way Surf came to us—out of the blue one day. Aside from possible appearances from J. Cole, Frank Ocean, and Andre 3000, we don’t know anything regarding the album. From the sound of his comments, though, the album is done.
While Chance fans will likely focus on the low-key album announcement, the interview also touches on his deeply unorthodox and non-linear career path. There’s no music to buy from the Chicago emcee on iTunes or in stores. Chance has adopted a method of thinking that the music industry isn’t ready to accept.
“Why charge a dollar for [a song] when that’s not doing anything but making people undervalue music?” he asks during the interview. “None of my songs are worth 99 cents. They’re worth a lot more.”
Yes, there’s some money left in selling music, but Chance is focused on touring and merchandise, revenue streams that depend on as many people listening to his music as possible without barriers. He has the idea that his music shouldn’t have a price tag since it’s going to affect a wide array of listeners. To him, the feeling that people are enjoying his songs and projects is worth more than any dollar sign.
Some of this forward thinking can be found in the idea behind Surf being a free download on iTunes, a move that was the first of its kind. It also allowed Chance and his circle to track the first week downloads in an accurate fashion. Over 618,000 downloads at the time and 10.1 million single track downloads, this is something nobody else has tried to implement. Chance is ahead of the curve.
Could this be the future in the coming years? With streaming looking to replace illegal downloading as much as possible, releasing free music on iTunes seems like it could be a thing for many. Major labels won’t oblige since that’s one way they stay afloat, but indie artists can hit the road and make a fortune. Chance is doing just that as he embarks on his latest tour this fall.
And on the subject of major labels, Chance isn’t ruling out a signing, but the idea seems highly unlikely. What’s interesting is that Chance had been meeting with labels as far as back as 2012, before Acid Rap. Peter Edge, a Chief Executive at RCA, was among one of the early people attempting to court the Chicago native to his label, but ultimately Chance remains a free agent and it will likely remain that way.
“Label deals suck, that’s just the truth of it,” Chance explains. “People believe you have to be discovered by a higher power, who hires you and takes a percentage, but in reality, you have to garner a fan base on your own.”
Chance The Rapper, Chance the father, and you can’t forget Chance the visionary.