On the heels of performing a tribute to Muhammad Ali at the ESPYs in July, Chance the Rapper sat down with Billboard for cover story and photo shoot, where Chance dove into his process of writing music, his responsibility as an artist, relationship with fellow Chicago artists and more.
“It’s not about the music being free. It’s about how it is displayed and made accessible and about artistic power,” Chance said in the profile. “It was always about the artist-to-fan relationship.”
Chance also discussed his relationship with Kanye and how he took ‘Ye’s commanding studio ethic as a process to finish Coloring Book, and his work and impact as a public servant.
“I understand how black women are represented in rap music, how being a baby mama is perceived. My girlfriend and I are very conscious of how many people in our situation don’t think it can work out, when it can,” he said. “Kids would tell me they tried acid for the first time listening to Acid Rap, asking me if I wanted some. I realized the responsibility of being a popular artist.”
I was driving from Orlando to Gainesville this morning listening to Joey Purp’s iiiDrops mixtape and thinking how — like nearly every Chicago up-and-comer’s project — it featured a slew of fellow Chicagoans and how they always seems to join around camaraderie rather than competition. And, naturally, the topic came up in the interview.
“I never really liked the idea of rap being a competitive thing. It’s not. I can’t gain anything off of anyone else not succeeding,” Chance said. And that seems to summarize the whole idea of Chicago artistry — and in turn, artistry across rap — over the last couple years. It probably didn’t start with Chance, but there’s no doubt he’s help spread the ideology.
Also, if you ever had any doubt of Chance’s impact on the abilities of an independent artist, look at this chart: