Chance The Rapper Got The Grammys To Completely Change The Rules So He Could Win

Photo: Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images.
Citizens! Peoples of the pop culture realm! Folks! Oy! Chance The Rapper just won Best New Artist at the Grammys. The Chicago-based rapper won for his streaming-only album Coloring Book, released earlier this year. It's not that we didn't expect this — we totally did. Chance, born Chancelor Bennett, has had a huge year, and the public could not adore him more. (To boot, the guy already had a Grammy under his belt by the time he received this award.)

But the win is more than just a nod to a great artist (and a charming af man who frequently rocks overalls.) Chance The Rapper is the first independent musician to win Best New Artist ever — and that means that maybe, just maybe, the music industry is beginning to change its label-based ways. Last year, the award went to Meghan Trainor. Before that, Sam Smith was the lucky decorated fellow. Both were, at the time, signed to labels. Chance is not — and he's likely to stay that way. As Rolling Stone points out, the album Coloring Book was the first streaming-only album to make it to the Billboard 200. In fact, the Academy had to change their policies this year in order to nominate the piece for Best Rap Album. So, even before his historic win, Chance The Rapper was changing the industry.

Chance's win feels like a nod of approval for the rogue world of digital releases. Music junkies and hip hop fans have long flocked to the internet for their listening needs, and it's about time the Academy caught up. His win opens the door for future streaming-based artists to get Grammy nods of their own. Labels, it seems, might not be as important as they used to be.

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