Byline: Gianna Brimlow
From his start as an underground SoundCloud rapper to a three time Grammy award winning artist, Chance the Rapper has never forgotten about where he came from. Growing up in the West Chatham neighborhood of Chicago, Illinois, Chance continuously gives back to his community in efforts to make Chicago a safer place.
Never giving into big time music labels, the independent rapper recently released his third mixtape, "Color Book" on May 13, 2016 free to stream on Apple Music, SoundCloud, and Spotify. Unlike other popular artist who only rap about sex, money, and drugs, Chance changed the scene creating a righteous mixtape with uplifting anthems praising God and life. The heavily gospel influenced tracks contain fun beats and catchy lyrics that even non-believers can listen to and enjoy.
Chance is moving in the right direction leaving the traditional music industry behind. With his impeccable success without a label, the innovative artist is paving the way toward a new future for the music industry. Selling music has become completely outdated in a world where most avid listeners pay monthly to stream songs through apps rather than buying whole albums. Having more freedom and ownership over his work, the 23-year-old built a dedicated fan base through his pure talent and hard work.
Due to the free cost of his mixtapes, Chance receives the majority of his income from merchandise sales and concert tickets. Chance is the true vison of success showing other young artists that if they work hard and build their brand, they too can make it big as an independent musician.
When artists reach the level of fame Chance has, many get sucked into the Hollywood lifestyle, spending large amounts of money on unnecessary possessions. But the Chicago native put his money and fame to good use, donating to the greater good of his community.
Earlier this month, Chance the Rapper met with Illinois Governor, Bruce Rauner and challenged him to "do your job" and sufficiently fund Chicago's public schools. On March 6th, Chance held a press conference at Westcott Elementary School to discuss the education funding deficit and announce his one-million-dollar donation to Chicago Public Schools. Chance live streamed his speech through Twitter and Instagram where fans could watch his powerful remarks against the political corruption that created a $215 million budget shortage in public education.
"Our kids should not be held hostage because of political positioning," said Chance. "If the governor does not act, CPS will be forced to end school 13 days early, which means over 380,000 kids will not have adult supervised activities in June and could possibly be put in harm's way."
Chance went on to share that the donation was funded largely through ticket sales from his upcoming tour, and thanked his fans for helping to make it possible. But the one-million-dollar donation was not all. The rapper vowed that for every $100,000 raised for Chicago Public Schools through his Social Works initiative, the organization would donate $10,000 to a school of its choosing.
During the press conference, the rapper also discussed the pressing issue of education inequality for students of color. Not only in Chicago, but all across America schools that serve mostly minority students are consistently underfunded in comparison to schools who house majority white students. Due to this reality, teachers struggle to give students the quality education they deserve so that they can have a fair shot at success. Chance hopes this money will help combat the education inequality in Chicago and raise awareness to the sad truth that America invests more money into incarcerating youth rather than educating them.
Chance's commitment to his hometown and to using his platform for the greater good, has made him a model for other influencers. This dedication to his community was instilled in him at a young age as both his father and mother worked for the government. In a recent interview with Katie Couric, Chance explained his father's role in his life.
"He's a very involved guy, he was the Block Club President when I was a kid so he knew everybody in this neighborhood and he used to make me take out the trash at all the neighbors houses and shovel snow for free," Chance said. "He makes me feel responsible for things that are going on in the world and in my community."
Even at the start of his rap career in 2014, Chance actively fought alongside his father to combat gun violence in his hometown and promoted the "#SaveChicago" campaign. He was named Chicago's Outstanding Youth of the Year by Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel in November 2014 for his active participation in the city.
Chance's proactive role in his community is exactly what this world needed to see in a time where politics are doing more harm than good. Most political leaders are blinded by their own personal agendas and fail to help people in need. Now more than ever citizens need to take political issues into their own hands and become active participants in the government. Chance's generous donation is not only helping to better public education in Chicago but is also influencing other celebrities to follow him in pursuit.
Chance the Rapper is a one of a kind artist and citizen, combining fame and politics like no other celebrity has done before. He has sparked a political revolution while simultaneously transforming the music industry. He has influenced us all, rising as a positive role model in the sea of drug addicted rap artists. There will be a lot more to hear from him in the future.