What we learned from Chance the Rapper’s interview with Zane Lowe

Chicago rapper talks at length about his decision to go independent, upcoming projects, and plans for a world tour


    Chance the Rapper appeared on Zane Lowe’s Beats 1 Radio program on Tuesday. Over the course of their hour-long discussion, they discussed the making of Chance’s excellent new mixtape, Coloring Book, his ongoing collaborations with Kanye West, as well as his decision to not sign to a record label.

    — On “All We Got”, the opening track to Coloring Book, the lyric “music is all we got” came from Kanye. The beat was originally written for Grace Weber, but he was able to convince Donnie Trumpet and Nate Fox to give him the song.

    — Francis and the Lights, who contributed to “All We Got” and “Summer Friends”, also brought the prismizer sound to Kanye and Frank Ocean’s new album. “He sings or takes a vocal, and he builds chordal sound around. It sounds like 15 cyborgs all signing in autotune.”

    — Chance will kick off a world tour in support of Coloring Book beginning in September with plans to hit Asia, Australia, New Zealand, and beyond.

    — His long-in-the-works mixtape with Childish Gambino could be released before year’s end.

    Big Sean, Jeremih, and J. Cole all recorded music for Coloring Book, but their contributions were not cleared by the artists’ various record labels. “It will never happen like that,” Chance said of the uncleared songs. “All it takes is the growth of the artists and the retraction of the control. I don’t think there will ever be a release from me again that feels controlled.”

    — Chance said Coloring Book marks the end of his mixtape trilogy and he’s unsure what he’ll do next. “I’m a little turned off from making music right this second cause I’m still sick and shit and I just did a whole project but I know I did the three projects exactly how I wanted to and they were mixtapes and that’s where I came from.” He added, “I wouldn’t necessarily say I wouldn’t make any more mixtapes … but for sure that mode of projects was its own thing.”

    — He really likes screenwriting and would like to stage a musical. “One is about a Halloween party and the other is an existential thing.”

    Chance also spoke at length about his decision to release music for free:

    “The free part of it is more of an attention-grabbing thing, something people can use as a marker to track what I’m doing. Since day one, when I was 15 or 16 passing mixtapes outside my high school, I’ve always given away for music.”

    “When I decided to make Acid Rap a free mixtape and went away from the deals I was being offered, it was to throw out a beacon and let people see what could come from a free artist. I wanted people to see an independent artist,” he continued. “It’s all about demonstrating the abilities of a person with a good team around him an idea of where they want to go.”

    Even so, Chance said major labels still make it “really hard” for him to release a project. “Most people are signed; say you make a project and there’s 12 Universal artists on it, and they find out you’ve recorded with these artists and plan to make videos with this artists, and they find out you plan to release it for free. And that’s when you get phone calls from people saying they own your friends and you can’t release it without their input.”

    As well as the Chicago music scene:

    “I think one, its a very cultured place. Chicago is a big city but it’s in the middle of Illinois and all of the suburban areas around us kind of create this wall of inclusive sound and shit. And on top of that we’ve never had a music industry. I think because there was no industry or big labels posted there it gave everybody a lot of air to make what the fuck they wanted to make and bred a lot of awesome talent across all genres.”


    Watch the full interview above.


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