Chance The Rapper’s first mixtape ‘Acid Rap’ was released in 2012 and he has since then proven that you can score success as an independent artist without giving up creative control.
With a loyal base of supporters, thousands of streams on digital platforms and packed venues at his live shows, he made it very clear that he refuses to sign to a record label — simply because he doesn’t need to.
He told FADER, “I’ve had a lot of advice from people [in the industry] who wouldn’t give me that same advice today. It’s not even that they have any ill will towards me because I didn’t take their advice at the time.
They’re almost like, ‘Keep going. You’re in uncharted territory, and you’re helping to shed light on what [the future of the business] will look like, and we’re all curious.'”
At the 2017 Grammys, Chance The Rapper earned three awards: Best New Artist, Best Rap Album and Best Performance for the track “No Problem.”
“This is for every indie artist!” he said during his acceptance speech for Best Rap Album.
It was a historic win — Coloring Book was the first streaming-only album to score a Grammy.
In June 2016, The Recording Academy announced that they were revising the rules to make streaming-only recordings, including mixtapes, Grammy-eligible.
According to Rolling Stone, Chance the Rapper is the first black hip-hop artist to win #GRAMMYs Best New Artist since Lauryn Hill in 1999.
On the Grammy stage, referring to his team and the people that support him, he said: “I know that people think independence means you do it by yourself but independence means freedom. I do it with these folks right here.”
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