Chance The Rapper’s epic Grammy sweep of the rap categories at the 59th annual awards shows marked a true changing of the guard for all artists. Though the young Chicago rapper wasn’t the first independent act to take home gold trophies on Music’s Biggest Night, his Three-peat set a new precedent for hopeful musicians. Chano didn’t even need an official album to reign down on the competition at the Grammys — he did it off a mixtape.
Before the 2017 awards show officially started, Chance won the “Best Rap Performance” race for “No Problem” with Lil Wayne and 2 Chainz. This marked Weezy’s 5th Grammy and 2 Chainz well deserved first award. Not only did Chance win for a song that is really a “f*ck you” to the major record labels and music industry, but he helped the man who once rapped “When I die, bury me inside the Gucci store.” join the ranks of Beyonce and Adele.
As Chance gave his first acceptance speech at the pre-show, he thanked a short list that included his family, God and Andrew Barber, founder of Chicago’s premier rap blog, FakeShoreDrive. That’s right, he didn’t shout out a major publication like VIBE or Complex, but a blog that has served as a gateway for Indy rap artists from the Windy City since before the Rap Internet was even a thing.
If you’re keeping track, young Chano shifted the Grammy winner’ criteria before the official televised broadcast even started. Then it was onto his win for “Best New Artist” — where he not only beat out huge pop acts with millions of dollars worth of marketing and promotion behind them like The Chainsmokers and Maren Morris, but he used the Grammys cut off music to further empower his thank you speech. As the sound-men were trying to get him to wrap up, Chance proclaimed that he was going to finish his heartfelt outpouring, and then actually rode the music to build the cinematic effect of his final words. One kid with a dream, a vision and faith in God — and his team — did all that without compromising his integrity in the slightest. No artist has done the impossible the way this Chicago native has.
— Wolé II (@Kingwole) February 13, 2017
For his last magnum opus of the evening, the hip-hop wizard stunted on Kanye West, Drake, ScHoolboy Q and rap pioneers De La Soul — and took home the W for “Best Rap Album.” Aside from De La, Yeezy, Drizzy and Q received heavy radio airplay in 2016 for hits from their respective albums. There wasn’t a time in the last 365 days where you could escape “Hotling Bling” while driving in your car — let’s just be real here. Chance on the other hand relied on streaming music platforms like Soundcloud to get his music to the masses. There was no schmoozing of program directors or gaudy on-air radio campaigns helping the kid to win. Chance strictly used his innovative sounds to let the Grammy committee know that he deserved rap’s top honor at the coveted awards show.
Chance has changed the game forever.