Chance the Rapper is looking towards the future.
At this year’s iHeartRadio music awards over the weekend, Chance the Rapper was awarded this year’s Innovator Award. The award was given to him by multi-hyphenate performer Pharrell.
In his speech, the N.E.R.D. frontman speaks highly on Chance. He says that he’s innovative in that he releases music not when he’s asked to by a record label, as he’s not signed, or on some sort of deadline, but of his own choosing. It’s this mentality that made him the first streaming artist to go on to win three Grammys.
Not only is chance innovative in his musical career, but he takes things one step further and goes the extra mile for the city of Chicago. He’s donated his time and his wealth back to the city that he grew up in and recently donated $1 million to Chicago public schools to aide in arts and enrichment programming. For a rapper so young, so fresh in the industry, he’s setting a precedent for how performers should be utilizing their platform and good fortune.
Chance the Rapper simply breaks with convention. He’s not beholden to any sort of standard other than his own. And he sets that pretty high for himself.
When Chance took the stage after a brief video, he thanks Pharrell, who won the same award in its inaugural year, for inspiring him to create greatness on your own terms. He thanks his predecessors James Brown, Ray Charles and Prince for blazing their own paths so that he would be able to. He salutes Nicki Minaj for being a forerunner in streaming artistry and Beyonce for the art of surprise albums.
“I didn’t invent indepence in any way. I didn’t innovate this idea. I’m following behind a lot of other people and it takes a lot more of us coming together as artists to regain our control and power as we should have it.”
Chance proves that artists don’t have to obey industry standards in order to be successful. Artists should have the freedom to create the music that they want to, not what suits radio plays. Good music will always find an audience.
Congratulations to Chance the Rapper on his very deserving award.