Chance the Rapper is the most talented rapper of his generation and a pioneer in the music industry. His latest album, “Colouring Book,” won him a 2017 Grammy for best new artist.
This year, the Grammys made streaming-only albums available for awards consideration for the first time, which allowed “Colouring Book” to be nominated. Because of the new rule, Chance, whose real name is Chancellor Bennett, made history as the first artist to win a Grammy based on a streaming-only album.
“Colouring Book” is so popular that it’s the first streaming-only album to chart on Billboard’s ranking.
Miraculously, Chance has done all of this without a label supporting him. He’s turned down record deals from numerous labels, and depends on word-of-mouth and his SoundCloud account for distribution.
Meet the most successful fully independent musician of our era:
Chance the Rapper calls his albums 'mixtapes.' He recorded his first one in his senior year of high school.
He formally kicked off his career with the song 'Windows.' It got him some attention in Chicago's hip hop scene, and Chance spent another eight months tinkering with the rest of the album.
The album was released in 2012 and received over 400,000 downloads on the music-sharing site DatPiff and got Chance a cult following.
It's called '10 Day' because he wrote it during a 10-day suspension from high school.
A year later, Chance instantly became a star with his album 'Acid Rap,' which was downloaded over a million times.
But Chance didn't keep doing the same thing over and over again. He joined a band and made uplifting Christian rock.
In 2015, Chance joined a band called Donnie Trumpet & The Social Experiment, a collective of Chicago-based musicians, for a quirky album called 'Surf.'
The music was a stylistic departure for Chance. His vocal performance was still rap, but it's not really a rap album. The whole thing takes a jazzy and explicitly Christian tone. The highlight is a track called 'Sunday Candy.' Chance co-directed the music video.
In 2014, Chance worked on five songs for Kanye West's 2016 album 'The Life of Pablo.'
He provided guest vocals for 'Ultralight Beam,' rapping 'I met Kanye West, I'm never going to fail/He said let's do a good arse job with Chance three/I hear you gotta sell it to snatch the Grammy/Let's make it so free and the bars so hard/That there ain't one gosh darn part you can't tweet.'
The two performed 'Ultralight Beam' together.
In 2016, Chance released the album 'Colouring Book' and rapped about how much he hates record labels.
His song 'No Problem' is about how much Chance wants to keep record labels far, far away from his music. The album is widely considered to be one of the best of the year.
Kanye also appears on the upbeat opening track, 'All We Got,' and Lil Wayne, T-Pain, Justin Bieber, and Future drop verses on other songs on the album.
Now that he's BFFs with Kanye and 'Coloring Book' is a success, the music industry has to accept Chance whether they want to or not. Given the success of 'Coloring Book,' the Grammys changed their rules in June to allow streaming-only titles to be nominated.
CBS unveiled its 2017 Grammy nominations on December 6, and Chance was nominated for seven of them.
'Colouring Book' was nominated in the best rap album category, up against albums from Drake, DJ Khaled, De La Soul, Schoolboy Q, and his mentor Kanye West.
He was also nominated for best new artist, for best rap performance, and best rap song with his single 'No Problem,' and for performing on Kanye's 'Ultralight Beam.'
At 23 years old, Chance won the coveted best new artist award at the 2017 Grammys.
He also nabbed the Grammy for best rap performance, which was given out before the ceremony. It was for his song 'No Problem,' featuring Lil Wayne and 2 Chainz, off his album 'Colouring Book.'
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