Mount St. Joseph University

Lil’ Chano is the Next Big Thing in Rap

Dateline: student newspaper

By: Matthew Morris

The main goal of young aspiring musicians is to get signed to a major record deal. With a signing comes more money, more popularity, and more fame. One rap artist however has refused to sign to a major record label and has achieved success beyond anyone’s wildest imagination. The 23-year-old Chance The Rapper who hails from Chicago has recently been one of the most popular and unique artists in the music industry.

Chance, often affectionately called Lil’ Chano by fans, has officially been in the music industry since his first mixtape, 10 Day, was released in 2012. After his second mixtape release, Acid Rap, which came out just a year later in April 2013, Chance’s level of fame began to rise. Acid Rap to this day is still one of the most popular and downloaded mixtapes to ever be released in rap music. After the successes of his first two project releases, Chance released his free album Surf alongside his band “The Social Experiment” in 2015, which also received high praise from critics and fans. His style of blending rap rhythms and rhymes with the soul-filled, gospel-like music production takes after his idol, fellow Chicago rapper/producer Kanye West.

2016 was the year that belonged to Chance The Rapper. After helping Kanye West on multiple songs for West’s most recent album The Life of Pablo, Chance released his latest solo project Coloring Book in May of 2016. The mixtape has been Chance’s most critically acclaimed and popular work yet. Coloring Book earned Chance three Grammys at the 2017 Grammy Awards for “Best New Artist,” “Best Rap Performance,” and “Best Rap Album.”

Along with the gigantic success of Coloring Book, Chance has seen his own personal brand explode. His online store on his website (chanceraps.com) has sold products in huge numbers, he’s been asked to perform at more music festivals and concerts, he appeared on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon, and gave his Grammy winning performance for “No Problem” with 2 Chainz and Lil Wayne on The Ellen DeGeneres Show after that. That July Chance gave a one-of-a-kind performance when he wrote a song and dedicated it to the late Muhammad Ali at ESPN’s ESPY Awards Show. In October of 2016 Chance also began to appear in Kit-Kat commercials. So what makes Chance’s explosion in popularity so special and different? He is an independent artist.

Chance The Rapper so unique compared to other rappers in his refusal to sign to a music label or sell his music. Every mixtape that Chance has released in his career has been released strictly online and for free for fans to listen to. With the introduction of music streaming services like Tidal in 2014 and Apple Music in 2015, more and more artists are releasing music strictly online for fans to listen to; however, only a few follow Chance’s path and release their music for free. So how does Chance make money? In an interview with Ellen DeGeneres Chance revealed that he makes money solely through selling his merchandise and by doing live performances.

On top of his music being so well liked and popular, Chance is also a very popular guy off stage as well. His fun-loving, humble, and positive personality make him a likeable guy that a lot of people see as a change from the stereotypical rapper image of guys wearing pounds and pounds of chains and thousands of dollars in clothes everywhere they go. There are already speculation and rumors circling around the rap music community that Chance’s next project will be his true debut album, but don’t worry, Chance will remain an independent artist through its release. Given all of his recent success, it is easy to say that Chance The Rapper is one of the best young artists in the  music industry and he is only going to continue to get more popular and famous as time goes on.