Chance The Rapper’s album showcases the faults in independent art.

At the end of last month, Chance The Rapper’s debut album was released. This is the first time he has released a full commercial project; following 3 critically acclaimed free mixtape releases. Throughout these projects, Chance The Rapper has established himself as one of the biggest names in music.

From getting some of the biggest names in music on free releases, to him featuring on chart topping singles; even without being signed to a music label, Chance The Rapper’s career seemed unaffected by this choice of independence. That was until his debut commercial album released and it seemed his capabilities as an independent artist weren’t infinite.

The album was fine. A good album – by most artists’ standards – but a clear drop in quality when compared to the artist’s previous work. Initially I was confused, but further research into the business behind Chance The Rapper’s success provided some insight into why this might have been.

Much of Chance’s previous success can attributed to the sample heavy production and surprising features on his mixtapes.

As an independent artist, he doesn’t have the legal team or budget to clear the samples featured in his music for commercial release. Because of this, he could only release them for free.

Additionally, in an interview with Complex, Chance’s manager reveals the irritating process behind getting record label’s to clear their artists featuring in his music. Essentially, relying on “if you don’t clear our sample, you need to take down any music Chance helped create”.

In the month prior to his debut album, Chance released all of his previous mixtapes as commercial releases, meaning he would have needed to clear all of the samples and potentially also paid the labels for the big artist features.

Is it possible that the money spent on turning his mixtapes into commercial releases resulted in less budget for his debut album? Maybe.

When he initially released the previous projects on streaming services and as vinyls it seemed like a genius marketing strategy. Ultimately, this has backfired, as it resulted in his fans and the music industry hearing an artist with complete creative freedom, and then comparing his debut album to this level of quality.

Whilst Chance’s debut album has been disappointing, fans still have the upcoming Kanye album “Good Ass Job” to hopefully provide a return to form for the Chicago native.

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