In March of 2017, Chance The Rapper took to Twitter to announce that he was looking for an intern. He encouraged non-traditional résumés, but Negele Hospedales went above and beyond, building an entire website to highlight his qualifications and make his case. It worked, and Hospedales got an email the same day he launched the website. A few weeks later, a text from Chance confirmed it: he got the job. He's spent the last few months working with Chance and tagging along for the Be Encouraged Tour, so we talked to Hospedales about what it was like being Chance The Rapper's intern, what he learned from the experience, and what he's up to now.
How did you find out you won the internship? Who broke the news to you and how did you feel?
Something that surprises a lot of people is that Chance facilitated nearly the whole process, personally. The same day that I launched the website I got a tweet back and an email from him, and once my application went viral I got a text from his personal number as well. After about three weeks of silence—truthfully, I was getting a little worried—I got off work as a bartender in this awesome little music bar on Bondi Beach where I was working at time, and had a text message from Chance that literally read “how are you”—not the type of message you expect to get from your favorite rapper at 3 a.m. And from there the experience was kick-started and I was in San Francisco to join the tour within a week.
I think as surprising as the whole thing might be to some people, that personal aspect is really something Chance has built a career on thus far, and it certainly made the whole thing that much more special to me. Overall the application process was a mix of excitement and nerves, with a dash of anxious pacing every time something new developed. Huge shout out to my mom for answering my calls and talking me down from fan-ing out too hard while speaking with Chance.
Did you have specific responsibilities as an intern or did you just do whatever came up that needed to be done?
For the most part, I did some communications work, basically consisting of getting in contact with possible collaborators, and then I was responsible for generating fresh ideas in general and formatting them for possible implementation. And then exactly, a little bit of whatever was needed of me at the time.
When did you first meet Chance? What did he say to you?
The first time I met Chance was in San Francisco on the second date of the tour. SF was a place I’d dreamed of visiting for my entire life, so even though I was a single day removed from a 17 hour flight back to Canada from Sydney, I made sure to fly into SF extra early so that I’d have a few hours to explore and see the bridge.
After an absolutely dreadful two-hour Uber Pool ride to Oracle Arena, it took my suitcase and me about 15 minutes to track down Chance’s assistant Colleen, and shortly after that, she took me into his room to meet the guys. They were watching one of the Bulls’ playoff games and Chance was the first person in the room to extend a hand and say something like, “Hey, really glad you could make it out.” As a long-time fan who had been trying hard, sometimes probably too hard, to meet one of my idols, landing the internship was definitely a special way to meet him for the first time.
What was the craziest or most impactful thing you experienced during your time as Chance The Rapper's intern?
This is a hard one because there really was so many experiences on the tour that meant so much to me, that I might not have even realized at the time. As I mentioned in my piece, just being around so many successful creatives—more specifically, black creatives—was something that I really think has helped me out a lot post-tour. I’m making better work than ever and going that much harder.
Something that I guess I would classify as a pretty surreal moment was a night after a show on the bus. There were about seven buses on the road with us, but I was fortunate enough to get to stay on the same bus as Chance, so there was always some cool conversations going on in between cities with everyone. On this particular night, Chance, Reese, and I were the last ones hanging out on the bus after a show, and somehow I got to take over the aux for a while and play a few of my favorite SoundCloud tracks. There was this super obscure, old Chance track on a random SoundCloud account with under 1,000 plays that someone in the ‘Chano Fam,’ a Twitter chat that I’ve been a part of for over a year, had discovered a while back. It seemed legit, but none of us had ever heard it before that or been able to find any info on it. I played it for Chance and instantly his face lit up and I asked him if it was legit—turns out it was the special version of a 10 Day song that he made as part of a high school prom campaign. Little moments like that probably seem insignificant, but really stuck with me for whatever reason.
Was there anything surprising about the internship or did you get what you expected from it?
Considering there wasn’t really any information given before I came out, my expectations were pretty much null in terms of what I thought I would be doing, but I was glad I was given at least a few significant projects to be a part of.
Maybe more so than the actual internship, I’d say life on the road, in general, had far more surprising elements than I might have been ready for. I’m not sure I’m at liberty to discuss many of them, but anyone who has ever gotten to tour for the first time probably has a few ideas of what I mean. Overall, I would say the experience was much harder but far more rewarding than I could’ve ever imagined.
Do you keep in touch with Chance and the team?
I’ve tried to stay in touch with the team as much as possible post-tour. Obviously, Chance is a pretty busy dude so we aren’t in touch all the time, but he did take the time to check out my article and approve it before I published it. Other than that I’ve been working pretty hard to get my personal branding business off the ground, where I���ll be helping smaller artists and creatives elevate themselves into marketable brands, but I’m always still looking for ways to help the team out, so Pat (the Manager) has been super helpful in making sure I’m able to keep contributing.
As far as other people that I either met on tour or traveled with, I’ve maintained a lot of great relationships. The guys in Thirdstory were some of my closest friends on tour so I’ve been proudly following their recent successes. Chance’s merch guy, Cam, has been developing his new UK artists Two Another so we keep up with each other’s work often. The amazing Grace Weber and her manager Binta were also some of the first people to reach out with support early in the whole application process, and since getting to meet them on a few occasions during tour I’ve stayed close, keeping up with their efforts towards Grace’s forthcoming release. The tour chat also still lives, so occasionally something funny will pop up in there too.
The number of awesome connections that I made during the two months of the tour definitely added some weight to the Rolodex, so I’ve definitely been trying my best to keep up with everyone.
What did you learn from this internship?
As cliché as it is, clearly, the first thing that comes to mind is really how much is made possible by just chasing your goals and doing what you love. Even further than that, I guess, would be how much is made possible with this wonderful tool called the internet—and it really is that, a tool. By simply participating, creating content for others to consume, some crazy things happen. In high school I grew a partnered YouTube channel by playing video games and posting the videos. In university I built a culture website with all original content, and we hit 100,000 views two years in a row. And now, only six months out of college, I got to tour the country with my biggest inspiration, all because of the internet. The whole thing has really validated my efforts over the last five or so years when it might have seemed like a waste of time, and I can’t lie, it feels really good. But now I want to build even more.
Again, as mentioned in the piece, the idea that there really is no finish line—an old Nike quote that I always said I’d get tattooed one day—was something that was concreted in my soul after seeing just how hard this man and his passionate band, background vocalists, production team, management team, security, and damn near everyone else kept working even in times when it would be easy to relax. You know, there is a real reason why Chance the Rapper will be on top for a long time to come. As a 22-year-old, this internship definitely taught me a lot of things that I didn’t even know I needed to know.