Chance The Rapper was an open book when he sat down for a wide-ranging conversation at the University of Chicago Institute of Politics that went on for over an hour.
Sitting down in his favorite outfit with Bakari Kitwana, Chance discussed his upbringing in the church, Savemoney, political activism, streaming, cover art, social media, his experience trying out stand-up comedy, and more.
Given his reputation as an innovative independent artist, a story about almost signing to Sony Music was especially interesting.
“I remember I had a label meeting with this woman who I really respect and don’t want to paint her as a bad person at all. A woman named Sylvia Rhone, who’s at Sony Music,” he says. “That was the one deal I was going to take. I don’t really talk about it enough, but there is this deal that I was going to take in 2012 after my first mixtape, 10 Day. I was getting courted by labels and I remember I went to this meeting. I got flown out to New York.
After telling a story about how the whole thing was similar to a scene from The Cheetah Girls, he explained, “In real life, ni**as really do go to label meetings and start rapping in a room full of people in suits to prove that they need that deal. And it’s an ugly thing to think about. I had that moment, though. I was in a meeting with Sylvia Rhone and LA Reid, and they asked me to play some songs on the speakers.” He continues, “I’m playing it for them and they’re jammin’ and they’re like ‘do your dance’ and I’m in that bitch like ‘ahh yeah’ playing ‘Chain Smoker’ singing the words louder than the speaker and shit.”
“I was hyped on it and like: ‘these people really fuck with me, these people really love me and understand what I’m trying to do.’ They were talking about printing up contracts, then and my dad called me and was like, ‘Son, I know you’re in New York and you’re doing something really important, but remember: don’t sign anything.’ And I was like, ‘damn, is he in this bitch?’ And moral of the story, I didn’t sign that shit.”
Watch the full interview above.