Chance the Rapper was a special guest at the Institute of Politics at the University of Chicago and gave a wide-ranging conversation with Bakari Kitwana on religion, Savemoney, the major label system, activism, and more.
During the hour-long sit-down at Ida Noyes Hall, Chance revealed a lot of interesting stories about himself, particularly one about almost signing to Sony Music after the success of his 10 Day mixtape.
“I remember I had a label meeting with this woman who I really respect, and don’t want to paint her as a bad person at all,” he said. “A woman named Sylvia Rhone, who’s at Sony Music. That was the one deal I was going to take. I don’t really talk about it enough, but there is this deal that I was going to take in 2012 after my first mixtape, 10 Day. I was getting courted by labels and I remember I went to this meeting. I got flown out to New York.”
After relating his story to a scene from The Cheetah Girls, he explains a moment where he was playing his music in front of Sylvia Rhone and LA Reid. “I’m playing it for them and they’re jammin’ and they’re like, ‘Do your dance,’ and I’m in that bitch like, ‘Ahh yeah,’ playing ‘Chain Smoker’ singing the words louder than the speaker and shit. I was hyped on it and like, ‘These people really fuck with me, these people really love me and understand what I’m trying to do.'”
Chance’s father, Ken Bennet, advised him to not take the deal, which in the long run ended up working in the long run. “They were talking about printing up contracts, then and my dad called me and was like, ‘Son, I know you’re in New York and you’re doing something really important, but remember: don’t sign anything.’ And I was like, ‘Damn, is he in this bitch?’ And moral of the story, I didn’t sign that shit.”
There’s plenty of gems here that you don’t want to miss. He also speaks about the music industry and the significance of Coloring Book hitting the Billboard top 10 strictly off album streams. Watch the full interview above.