Throughout his career, Chance The Rapper has drawn both praise and criticism for his staunch stance on independence. He’s remained a stalwart proponent of doing it himself — even more so than Russ — and has been the number-one example of the heights of success this approach can bring. Not only did his mixtape Acid Rap make him a household name (at least, in hip-hop households), but its follow-up Coloring Book forced the Grammys to change its own rules to give it a Best Rap Album award in 2017.
But, of course, there have been drawbacks, as well. Chance has previously discussed the pressure that has been put on him to sign other artists in order to give them similar opportunities — something he says he can’t do even if he wanted to — and in a new feature in Complex, he now explains why he couldn’t even garner the benefits of signing to a major label, which could still help him with things like budget and logistics.
“If I were to sign to a label, the next thing you would see is people saying, ‘See, we told you this independent shit wouldn’t work,’” Chance says. “I don’t even have the option to do that.” He also points out, “I would be letting a lot of people down, because I’m what people point to when things succeed, and I’m what people point to when they want to say something failed.”
However, it’s mostly a positive proposition. As Chance admits, “I’ve helped a lot of people, and what I enjoy is when those people remain independent and remain in contact and community with me. I think what I want to do is continue to empower people. I don’t want to make anybody subject to my views of how their career should go. I don’t need to be in anybody else’s pockets.”