Get to Know Chance The Rapper
By Sydney Zuelke
Chance The Rapper sits in one of his favorite spots – Harold’s Chicken, in Chicago – with Katie Couric.
Off the bat, the veteran journalist asks the rapper about the infamous “3” hat he’s sporting.
“I feel like I have a weird head shape,” he says. “There’s only brain under here. I don’t take this hat off. I sleep in this hat, take showers and baths in this hat…”
It’s been a busy year for the ‘Coloring Book’ artist.
In July of last year, Chance was invited to the ESPY’s, to sing a song in honor of Muhammed Ali. He says, “It was one of the greatest moments of my life, definitely of my musical career. My dad made me study him. And when he passed, it was really deep for me because I likened him so much to my father. A couple nights before the show I wrote an original piece for him.”
Couric continues laying out his successes, pointing out multiple performances on SNL, an appearance at the White House Christmas Tree Lighting and winning three Grammys.
“Yeah, it’s still unreal to me,” Chance says, humbly smirking and laughing in response.
Chance made history at the 2017 Grammys by becoming the first winner with a streaming-only album.
“You’re an independent artist. Your music goes directly to your fans; you’ve never signed to a record label. Why not?” Couric asks.
“I think there’s a lot of attention on me not signing a record deal,” Chance begins to explain. “But I also don’t believe in publishing deals or traditional upper management style of music being distributed. I get to choose how much my music costs, I get to choose when my music gets released, I get to choose when I go on tour, who I work with, what movies I work with.”
Couric follows up by asking how the rapper can successfully make money without the backing of a label.
“Well, luckily I have a very successful merchandise business – I sell merchandise online at chanceraps.com and you can buy tickets to any of my shows at chanceraps.com.”
Speaking of merchandise, there’s a long list of people who want that “3” hat. So where did the idea come from?
Long story short, after a failed deal to collaborate with the Chicago White Sox, he made the switch to the “3” cap after realizing he was on his third project. He also mentions his daughter and his daughter’s mother and the holy trinity.
“And now I’m a three-time Grammy winner,” he says. “Until next year.”
Chance talks about his time living in LA, and the struggles that made him want to make more “righteous music”, feeling like he wasn’t himself.
Couric asks, “Why was it important for you to come back to Chicago?”
“I feel a certain duty to Chicago and to my family that lives here, and friends that live here, and people I don’t know that live here,” Chance says. “I’m a plant, if you uproot a plant and put it somewhere else, it’s not gonna grow the same.”
With the love he has for his hometown, he shares the same amount of fear and sadness for the changing social climate in the city. His non-profit “Social Works” aims to make a change. (As does the generous $1-million contribution Chance the Rapper made to Chicago Public Schools just this week).
“The school system has been underfunded for the past two years,” he says. “We have some of the strictest gun laws as a state, but there’s a lot of illegal gun trafficking coming from the states that surround us.”
Wrapping up the interview, Couric talks about Chance’s 2017 Spring Tour, starting in April.
“I am (excited),” he says. “This is my first arena tour. I’m selling out arenas now… And shout-out to all my fans that have been there since day uno, for making us get to this point. I almost hyperventilate talking about it for too long, cause it’s insane.”
The incredible Chance the Rapper comes to Golden 1 Center, April 27!