The magnificent rise of Chance the Rapper
By Kaye Foley
Independent artist Chance the Rapper is shaking up the music industry. The 23-year-old unsigned rapper made Grammy history with his wins for his streaming-only album, Coloring Book. The Chicago rapper took home three awards — Best Rap Performance, Best New Artist and Best Rap Album.
Yahoo Global News Anchor Katie Couric caught up with Chance the Rapper — real name Chancelor Bennett — on the South Side of Chicago at one of his favorite local spots, Harold’s Chicken Shack, to talk about snatching the Grammys, the blessings in his life, his gospel-infused sound and making music independently.
Coloring Book is Chance’s third solo mixtape, and though he has received offers from labels, he prefers to stay independent.
“I get to choose how much my music costs. I get to choose when my music gets released,” Chance said, explaining why he doesn’t believe in record labels or the traditional “upper-management style” of distributing music.
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Known for rocking overalls and hats — particularly his signature baseball hat with the “3” on the front — Chance told Couric the story behind his iconic headwear, and why the number means so much to him.
“I sleep in this hat … take showers and baths in this hat,” he joked to Couric.
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The Chicago native spoke with Couric about the increasing violence and death toll in the city. By the end of 2016, Chicago had seen a 58 percent increase in recorded killings compared with the year before.
“What’s happening is bogus,” Chance said. “As individual acts, it’s — you know; it’s terrifying and also sad.”
“The respect for life is little [to] none in the city because we don’t really feel like people care about us,” he said. “There’s a lot of things that I wasn’t exposed to or didn’t understand or know about until I went downtown. It’s literally like a different city over there.”
This April, Chance is heading out on a nearly 40-city arena tour for Coloring Book, and his shows are already selling out. “I almost hyperventilate talking about it for too long ’cause it’s insane,” he said.
“Shout-out to all my fans that have been there since day uno — for makin’ us to get to this point.”
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