Chancelor Jonathan Bennett, better known by his stage name, Chance the Rapper, is a hip-hop artist who rose to prominence in 2012 with the release of his first mixtape, 10 Day. Since then, he has broken into the mainstream to become one of the most popular musicians in the world. Although he is known primarily for being an independent artist unsigned by a record label, there are plenty of things you never knew about Chance the Rapper.
From his wide-ranging songs that span genres including funk, gospel, and hip-hop, to his collaborations with such artists as Kanye West and Childish Gambino, Chance the Rapper is a worldwide phenomenon. The Chicago-born artist has also set many musical records and accomplished feats that his more experienced fellow rappers might envy.
Chance received seven nominations at the 2017 Grammy Awards, and won Best New Artist, Best Rap Performance for “No Problem,” and Best Rap Album for Coloring Book. It was the first year the rapper was eligible for a Grammy, after the organization changed its rules to allow nominations for albums that are only available via streaming.
Chance made history by becoming the first artist to win a Grammy for streaming-only music - an even more impressive feat considering he was just 23 at the time.
Meanwhile at Chance The Rapper's tour... pic.twitter.com/VHbu1TclKI— RESPECT. MAGAZINE (@RESPECTMAG) April 25, 2017
Despite his huge success, Chance has never been signed to a record label. Independent artists are rarely able to find such mainstream popularity or pick up music’s biggest awards without the backing of a large label. Chance says he likes the creative freedom to do what he wants and to collaborate with other artists without hurdles in his way.
At the start of his tour in 2016, the hip hop artist demonstrated his distaste for record labels by displaying mock logos of some of the biggest industry names on screen behind him.
Even though Chance isn't signed to a major label and makes all his music available for free, he is still one of the top-earning artists in the world. According to Forbes, in 2017 he had a net worth of $33 million. Instead of record profits, he relies on his sell-out tours in huge arenas and sponsorship deals with high-profile brands, in addition to merchandise sales.
Chance has also made it clear that he isn’t against selling music to boost his earning power, telling Billboard, "It’s not about the music being free. It’s about how it is displayed and made accessible and about artistic power. It was always about the artist-to-fan relationship."
Surf, the 2015 follow-up to Chance’s 2013 mixtape, Acid Rap, is not strictly a Chance the Rapper album. Instead, it was released under the name Donnie Trumpet & The Social Experiment and features the talents of trumpeter Nico Segal and other band members who tour with the rapper, including Peter Cottontale, Greg Landfair, Jr., and Nate Fox. The unique album fuses together various genres, including hip-hop, funk, and jazz.