Chance the Rapper’s 7 Grammy Nominations Could Usher In New Era for Independent Artists

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Chance The Rapper (Chance The Rapper/Facebook)
Chance The Rapper (Chance The Rapper/Facebook)

The nominees for the 59th annual Grammy Awards were released Tuesday, Dec. 6 and among the choices, politically active Chance the Rapper stands out for his history-making submissions. The 23-year-old’s “Coloring Book” gospel-infused mixtape was released in May independently without a record label, physical release or download option. Chance’s release could make history as the first streaming-only LP to win a Grammy.

According to Quartz, the Grammys officially changed its rules this summer to allow for this option after recognizing the power of streaming in the music industry, which is now the greatest source of American music industry revenue.

With Chance’s seven nominations, the Chicago-born MC could make a game-changing statement if he wins over label-dependent artists Beyoncé, Drake, Kanye West and Rihanna. Chance counts Best New Artist and Best Rap Performance among his nominations and “Coloring Book” is up for Best Rap Album.

The mixtape’s sound and lyrics are noticeably different from typical hip-hop tracks about sex and drugs. Heavily influenced by gospel, it features a guest appearance by Kirk Franklin on “Finish Line/Drown.” A choir rounds out the song, singing poignantly about the day Chicago will be free. The tune provides a commentary on the plight of Chance’s hometown, which has been wracked with police brutality issues for decades, including the killing of Laquan McDonald in 2014

Still, the aforementioned label signees also have an impressive amount of nominations. Bey leads the pack with nine for her visual album “Lemonade.” If she wins just eight of her nominations, Beyoncé could become the winningest female Grammy artist ever. Rihanna’s “Anti”, West’s “The Life of Pablo” and Drake’s quadruple platinum “Views” follow the “Formation” singer with eight nominations. Additionally, West is now the second-most nominated male artist with 68, closing in on producer Quincy Jones’ 79. The BoomBox reported.

The Grammys will air live on CBS on Sunday, February 12 at 8/7c. See a complete list of nominees here.

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