EMMA STANCEY ‘18
Arts & Life Editor
This year, Chance the Rapper will headline Lollapalooza, a world-renowned music festival in his hometown of Chicago. It’s a huge honor, no doubt. For a record-breaking rapper like Chance, who’s notoriously independent, this is truly a feat. Chance officially played at Lollapalooza in 2014, but not as a headliner. And he’s made Lollapalooza appearances as well over the years.
Chance is not currently signed to a label, nor has he ever been. In fact, he is very vocal about his strong distaste for the music industry. Chance is self-proclaimed “anti-label” as he raps in “Blessings” from his most recent album.
In February, he won 3 Grammys as an UNSIGNED artist. This is unheard of. Chance has officially made it. He’s wellrespected in the rap game and more importantly on his home turf.
Chance is a huge advocate for Chicago and he genuinely cares about the betterment of the city. He’s made this clear time and time again. He has worked to combat gun violence, to promote racial justice, and to improve education in Chicago.
In 2014, mayor Rahm Emanuel named him Chicago’s Outstanding Youth of the Year. In 2016, Chance met with President Obama at the White House as a part of the My Brother’s Keeper Challenge, an initiative tailored to young men of color that tackles racial injustice. Just three weeks ago, Chance announced a $1 million donation to Chicago Public Schools and challenged corporations to match his generosity.
I could go on. The point is that Chance the Rapper is an incredible young man. His talent is bountiful, his character outstanding, his dedication inspiring. He skyrocketed to fame and he’s hugely successful, but he remains humble. He hasn’t forgotten where he came from. Chance is a rarity.
That being said, I have to admit I was upset when Chance released the dates for Spring Tour 2017. A stop in Chicago was noticeably absent from the lineup, which could only mean one thing. Chance had already signed a contract with Lollapalooza.
Like many other festivals, Lollapalooza has a radius clause that prohibits artists from touring in or around Chicago for an extended period of time both before and after the festival in early August. This assures that Lollapalooza makes the most bang for their buck. The clause is damaging to the potential profits of music venues and artists.
This means that Chance is only playing one show in Chicago all summer long – at Lollapalooza (unless he announces a free pop-up show, which he’s been known to do). Now, I know my frustration might seem unwarranted. As a Chicagoland native and dedicated Lollapalooza attendee, I realize that headlining the major festival is a huge accomplishment for Chance. I’m a big fan and seeing him succeed on his own terms is refreshing. I want to be happy for him, but part of me thinks him agreeing to do Lollapalooza was really hypocritical. I don’t think Chance fully considered the potential repercussions of playing Lollapalooza.
The radius clause prohibits him from playing in or around Chicago and a lot of his loyal fans won’t be able to see him at Lollapalooza. Tickets are expensive and they sell out instantly. Lollapalooza is simply inaccessible for much of his Chicago fan base. Fans have already expressed their distaste for his decision on his Facebook page.
More importantly, Chance is anti-label and against corporate music. Him signing a contract with Lollapalooza totally dispels his message. His inconsistency is frustrating and makes me question his intentions and interests.I’m excited for him, but more so disappointed. As one fan on Facebook put it, “we don’t do the same drugs no more.”
Emma Stancey ‘18 is a communication major and women’s and gender studies minor. from Naperville, Illinois