A few nights ago, on the opening night of his ‘Be Encouraged’ tour, Chance the Rapper made a bold statement to the labels:
“If one more label try to stop me/ there’s gon’ be some dread head niggas in your lobby.”
Not many rappers have the courage to stand up to labels. They have the power to start and end an artist’s career in the blink of an eye.
But fresh off three Grammy wins, including one for “Best Rap Album”, Chance might be the only rapper to have the power to do that.
Record labels have always had a questionable history in hip-hop. They could either help your career and turn you into a superstar, or sign you, use you until they can’t use you anymore, and leave your rap career in a worse spot than where it was before you got signed.
But if you’re a rapper, do you even need a record label? Chance is making everyone ask that question. With no major label behind him, he has had a career that most rappers wish they could have being independent. He has won three Grammys, has had a radio hit, all without signing a record deal.
Not only rappers, but artists overall, should look at Chance the Rapper on how an artist should move and do business in today’s era. Thanks to the internet, a young rapper on the come-up can do anything and everything a record label think they can do, and still not have to sell their soul to do it.