Chance The Rapper Talks Kanye, Chicago, & Streaming In First Coloring Book Interview

By streaming his fantastic new mixtape Coloring Book on Apple Music rather than giving it away as a free download, Chance The Rapper has landed a top-10 debut on the Billboard 200 albums chart. Thanks to about 53.8 million streams, the tape will debut at #8 on this week’s chart with 38,000 equivalent units, Chance’s first full-length release to land on Billboard’s standard-bearing album chart. It’s a big accomplishment for an artist not signed to a label, though of course he had to link up with another kind of massive corporation to qualify under Billboard’s chart rules.

To celebrate Coloring Book’s success, Chance has followed in the footsteps of fellow Apple affiliate Drake by joining Zane Lowe for an interview that will air Tuesday on Beats 1. In preview footage below, Chance discusses his disdain for record labels, his partnership with Kanye West, his opposition to selling his music, and the creative community in Chicago. Check out the videos along with some text excerpts below.

On record labels:

I don’t agree with the way labels are set up. I don’t agree that anybody should sign 360 deals or sign away their publishing or take most of the infrastructure that’s included in a formal deal. But I’ve learned to not be like fuck this company, fuck that company, even though a lot of those people tried to make it really hard for me to release my projects.

On recording “All We Got” with Kanye West:

‘Ye says, “Pull out the MPC.” They bring out the MPC almost like in the gold suitcase in Pulp Fiction. He records drums in a way I’ve never seen before he does everything live off the MPC. As it plays now the drums aren’t mixed separately, all the kicks all the hi-hat are the same level. He does it literally in one take from top to bottom. He just stands there and goes through it and plays all the drums that you hear on the track as you hear now. Less than five seconds after he does that one take through he goes through and freestyles over it.

On streaming versus selling music:

I think a big part of it is we are at such a crucial time in terns of music. The charts are already changing they’re including streaming. I still don’t necessarily agree with how they – it’s something like every thousand streams is a sale or something. I don’t know – I don’t really care about that but at least they’re making that move and I think the Grammys started making the move I think about a year ago they started voting on it – I don’t know because I’m not on the Grammy board anymore.

The wording is they can’t nominate a project unless it’s a commercial release. Because of this timing I think it was important to have these mixtapes be trilogized and be a thing that existed regardless of how the revolution goes. I know that I was not on the bus when everything was changing — I was like, “Fuck it, I’m still dropping mixtapes.” Now whatever is next I don’t really know. 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.

On 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.

The full interview airs Tuesday at 1PM EDT/10AM PDT on Beats 1.

UPDATE 5/24: During the interview today, Chance shared his demos for Kanye West’s The Life Of Pablo tracks “Waves” and “Famous” (formerly known as “Nina Chop”). He also said he’s collaborating with Kanye on a new project called Good Ass Job, which famously was the working title for Kanye’s My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy (which Chance coyly referenced in his verse on The Life Of Pablo’s “Ultralight Beam”).

Stream the full interview below; the demos begin around 20:45.

Here’s a video version of the interview:

And here is isolated audio that begins partway through the “Waves” demo and continues into “Famous,” via CoS: