By ANDREA HUETE
You may have heard of an unconventional rapper out of Chicago named Chance The Rapper. He did a song with Kanye West on West’s “Life Of Pablo” album in 2016 called “Ultralight Beam” that gained lots of attention in the music industry.
That being said, Chance The Rapper dropped his third mix tape in 2016, “Coloring Book,” and was nominated for seven Grammys in this past awards show, according to the New York Daily News.
Well, Chancelor Johnathan Bennett, aka Chance The Rapper, took home three of those seven Grammy’s without even dropping an album yet.
One of those wins was Best New Artist, which has not been received by a black artist since Lauryn Hill in 1999.
The most insane part about all of this, is that Chance The Rapper is still labeled an independent artist.
Despite sources saying Chance was turning down $5 million signing deals with major record labels before his Grammy wins, the artist is choosing to hold on to his freedom.
Chance The Rapper addressed the choice in staying an independent artist in one of his acceptance speeches saying “I know that people think independence means you do it by yourself but independence means freedom.”
Essence magazine, one of the pioneers in black magazines, reported that Chance The Rapper is now turning down deals since his three Grammy wins that are twice the amount of the deals before. Labels are offering him $10 million to sign with them.
However, could his reasoning for staying independent be linked to his pride in his blackness? The 23-year-old rapper is very involved in social justice issues.
“I think #BlackLivesMatter is a huge campaign that is important and integral to our advancement as a people,” he said in an interview with Hot 97.
Being from Chicago, he’s also addressed gun violence, as well as colorism and discrimination against the beauty of black women. In one of his songs he even refers to the mother of his child as his “black queen.”
The music industry, like the rest of the world, is white washed. The award with the most extreme racial divide, Best New Artist, has white artists winning the award 77 percent of the time historically.
In addition, Solange Knowles, addressed the white washing of the Grammy’s in a tweet saying “There have only been two black winners in the last 20 years for album of the year there have been over 200 black artist who have performed.”
Chance The Rapper is very close to the Knowles and the Carters, even calling Beyoncé his auntie, and Jay-Z unc.
By staying independent, Chance can attribute his success only to the people that he chooses to surround himself by, and not an organization that is so blatantly white washed and bias, two things he speaks up against frequently.