Chance The Rapper is often (and rightly) held up as a powerful symbol of the truly independent artist, doing things on his own terms without any of the traditional structure (manager, label etc.) behind him. Plus he’s enormously successful doing it.
His latest project, RapperRadio.com, has a mission statement to “bring independent music to the airwaves” where users can tweet to hear a track in their local area. At launch, only two tracks are available for fans to push to radio – ‘Summer Friends’ (featuring Jeremih and Francis & the Lights) as well as ‘No Problem’ (featuring Lil Wayne and 2 Chainz). Both are from Coloring Book, Chance’s latest album and both, interestingly, have 30-second clips taken from Apple Music (where his album is still available to stream exclusively). Of course it has its own dedicated hashtag – #optioncee – and he took to Twitter to explain it all over a series of tweets. “I want you to share my music in whatever city you’re in with as many people as possible […] The radio is like a huge listening party for people of all demographics to get in tune. In those moments it’s mad ppl in harmony […] #optioncee requires your twitter and will take place over the next few weeks. It has phases so I’ll keep tweaking it but let’s take over! […] I present #optioncee aka http://rapperradio.com.” While he’s started with his own music, there is the hope this is not a purely solipsistic move and that it will develop to become a springboard for other artists fired up by his spirit of independence.