In March 2021, Grammy Award-winning singer-songwriter Anita Baker called upon fans with the unusual request to refrain from purchasing or streaming her music on digital platforms, citing her battle with her former label over the ownership of her masters. Six months later, she took to her social media page, informing her supporters that all was well and that she had regained possession of her masters, thanks to the help of Chicago emcee Chance the Rapper.
For a while, it was unclear how the “No Problem” rapper made that a reality. According to the 29-year-old rap star, his relationship with the “Sweet Love” singer began well before he became the successful three-time Grammy Award-winning artist he is today.
But during a recent WGCI Morning Radio Show appearance, Chance recalled the moment that led to him helping the 64-year-old star.
“I remember she had put up some stuff on the internet, some tweets that were basically saying ‘Hey, my contracts, all my contracts from my record company Elektra have expired. Either the contract has died–they’re past 35 years, or I fulfilled the contract,” he said, recalling Baker’s pleas on Twitter — roughly after the start of the COVID-19 pandemic —regarding her struggles with her former label.
Chance also highlighted Baker’s claims that her white labelmates’ masters were reverted to them. At the same time, she continued to battle for her artistic property before requesting that fans boycott her music.
He added, “And what had happened was, because of the place that Twitter is, it instantly devolved into this joke like ‘Sorry aunty, I gotta clean my house.’ ” Chance noted that while the jokes might be funny, Baker’s request was a “serious moment.”
“This is our icon. A Black woman who’s given so much to so many of us and to our moms, our grandmas, and our kids.” He added that it “felt like in that moment it was my time to say just something like ‘Hey, it’s not a joke, you know what I’m saying, and I put some little tweet, I can’t remember what I said, but that part ended up trending, and it was like a little thing,” he continued.
Chance said he had forgotten entirely about the incident until he attended a show of the songstress who was fulfilling a residency in Vegas. During her May performance, the “Angel” singer took the time to acknowledge “a friend of mine by way of the music industry and by way of helping me, helping me to get ahold and ownership of my master recordings.”
The rapper admitted, “At first I was feeling a little bit of that imposter syndrome,” feeling like he didn’t do much. However, he got over it following a discussion with his mother, who reminded him, “No one knows how powerful their voice is until they speak up.”