Chance The Rapper speaks of his dedication to being an independent artist, "You Song," and the follow-up to "Acid Rap"
Chance The Rapper's success seemed to happen overnight. Even the anticipation over his Acid Rap project seemed to culminate only a week or so prior to its release. Since then, he's appeared on Lil Wayne's Dedication 5 mixtape (contributing what was arguably the best track), and toured with the likes of Eminem, Kendrick Lamar, and Macklemore and Ryan Lewis.
The Chicago emcee spoke with Rolling Stone about his independent approach, his sudden fame, and his next project. Read some excerpts from the interview below.
Does it feel like an eternity since Acid Rap?
It feels way shorter. Every day is a workday. It's hard to explain. When you're working on shit every day and it comes back full circle three months later, it doesn't hit you the same way. 'Cause it's something I knew I was working on.
Can you gauge your increasing fame?
Definitely. I do recognize it all the time. But it's not like . . . I don't necessarily feed into the whole newfound-fame type shit, or feeling like a different person. If anything, it makes me realize how fleeting and unreal it all is. It's all just about perspective. I just feel like it's not real. It's real, but only in the way it affects those around you. Fame or perceived success – it all comes from groupthink.
"You Song," one of the hottest cuts off Lil Wayne’s Dedication 5 mixtape, features one of your most killer verses. When did you find out that was going down?
We had just got back in [Chicago] the day before from Europe, and this was supposed to be our one day off between touring the States and coming back from Europe. That morning I woke up. The first thing I saw was a text from [my manager] Pat in the morning: "Wayne wants a song for Dedication 5. He needs it in two days." You can imagine all the stress that I instantly felt on my head, to not only do a perfect song for Wayne, but to have it done that one day, 'cause we were leaving the next day.
So how did you approach it?
I was a little bit scatterbrained. I was just stressed out, 'cause I was like, "I don't know what the fuck I'm about do." So I hit Pat back like, "What beat does he want?" And Pat's like, "I'll check for you right now." He hits me right back: "He says it could be whatever beat you want." That just made it so much more stressful. What beat do I pick for Lil Wayne's Dedication 5 mixtape? I'm thinking instantly I gotta pick some Chicago street shit. I was gonna do, like, Z Money "Bitches Want My Money' or a [Chief] Keef record, or just some Chicago shit. I figured it made sense. I wanted to rap about some Dedication 5-ass shit: what was going on, the shit that I recently got. Tell my story all over again.
Have you thought about signing with a label?
There's no reason to. It's a dead industry.
Is it also because you like maintaining direct control over your career?
I don't really have control over my direct impression on people anymore. I used to be the person putting my CD in people's hands. But I'm kind of a mainstream artist now. Not by choice. Not by what I make or anything. But just by that ripple-effect shit
When will we get an Acid Rap follow-up?
The whole point of Acid Rap was just to ask people a question: does the music business side of this dictate what type of project this is? If it's all original music and it's got this much emotion around it and it connects this way with this many people, is it a mixtape? What's an album these days, anyways? 'Cause I didn't sell it, does that mean it's not an official release? So I might not ever drop a for-sale project. Maybe I'll just make my money touring.