Aside from his critically acclaimed music and general likeability, one of Chance The Rapper's strongest attributes as an artist has been his passion for reforming the music industry. As the catalyst for streaming-only projects being GRAMMY-eligible, Chance has yet to allow the lack of a price tag on his music affect its quality or reach, and he wants to pass that knowledge on to others.
In a newly-published digital cover interview with Complex, Chance broke down why he feels such a strong sense of responsibility to empower other artists to go the independent route.
"My main goal in order for me to thrive—or continue to thrive—I need more artists to do it themselves."
That certainly makes sense if you think about it purely from a perspective of self-preservation. Chance has discussed being held back musically by label ties, especially during the making of Coloring Book, so it makes sense that he would want to do everything in his power to reduce the occurrence of those creative headaches.
"You sign to a label and you get a boss and that shit's just fucked up to me. Like, why should you have a boss?"
There’s also power in numbers. If there truly were a conspiracy to keep artists chained to the corporate teat, it’s much easier to discount the efforts of a singular artist who managed to find an alternate route than an entire upcoming generation of artists that have figured out how to do things themselves.
It’s a goal Chance admits to pushing, saying, “I want to be proof that it works. I don't wanna be the one guy it worked for, that's not my goal at all. I’m trying to get other motherfuckers to just, you know, do it.”
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From a more altruistic standpoint, however, Chance is just tired of seeing great artists stuck on the bench.
"Labels legally should have to release a list of names of the people they have signed. If you knew how many artists are in deals with—I’m not trying to get specific—but any label, you'd be like, “Who the fuck is this? Why did you sign this person seven years ago and their debut album is still shelved?” Like why don't I know anything about this artist? I don't wanna see people keep going through that…"
While Chance is championing independence, he does want to make sure there’s a distinction between his form of independence and trying to do everything by yourself. He makes sure to mention that there are things you’re going to need—an assistant, a tour manager, video directors—which are all crucial components to keeping up a Chance-like level of output.
The difference, however, is that Chance didn’t rely on a label to put that team together for him, and he wants to make sure other artists know that.
"In a cool way, you can bring on your friends and professionals that you know, or that your friends know, and build a business where you're the upper management. Where you're the creative, and you're the last decision maker and you don't ever have to feel compromised."
Chance’s independent success has absolutely been refreshing, but it’s his strong desire to pass on his lessons and pave the way for a new generation of artists that might be able to duplicate those successes that will continue to make him such a treasured artist in the digital era.
Chance is done letting the labels try and stop him, he’s out to try and stop them... from limiting creativity in the pursuit of profit.
By Brent Bradley. Follow him on Twitter.
Art Credit: Dibujante Ansioso