Joe Budden & Chance The Rapper Face Off On Whether Chance Is Truly Independent (Audio)
The Joe Budden Podcast typically functions as a talk show among its hosts. However, on the most recent episode (#185), Joe, Rory, Mal, Parks, and company welcome Chance The Rapper to their circle for a lively discussion. One of the most significant points of the discussion was when Joe Budden debated with The Chicago, Illinois superstar about his independence, suggesting that it is not an accurate representation of the artist, especially given a relationship with Apple.
At 60:00, Joe makes his perspective known. Budden, who divided his Rap career between major labels and indies says, “You’re misleading and misguiding the f*ckin’ kids with your semantics.” Chance disagrees. The host then asks the guest to define independence. “To me, it means an artist’s ability to own their masters, to own their publishing, to work everything in-house and create their own [brand]. That’s, to me, what it means.”
Joe interjects, “You got preferential treatment from Apple…normally, Apple’s product-placement is algorithm-based. It wasn’t for [Coloring Book].” Chance responds to the retired rapper, “Joe Budden, let me explain it to you, ’cause you probably haven’t had to deal with this in a long time. I’ma explain it to you how it works: any artist that has any kind of tick—that’s Chicago-slang for ‘ni**as know who they are’—can call Apple before they release a track [and negotiate that] they want to be on the front page when they drop.” Moments later, Chance agrees that Apple may not immediately agree, as it is a two-way conversation. “There’s a million different places that they could [place your marketing]. I just put out four tracks [in 2018] around the same time as a bunch of people droppin’ sh*t. I didn’t call them until two weeks before, and they [said that they] could only put me in ‘Hot Tracks.’ But they have a million different things that they can offer you; they’ll say ‘We can put you in “A-List Hip-Hop.” We’ll put you in “Hot Tracks.” We’ll put you on the front page. We’ll give you a slide. We’ll put you on the “Browse” page.'” Chance expounds that he and his team made the calls to Apple, not a label representative.
Joe presses further that he believes Chance is misleading aspiring artists. “I’m the first ni**a to do this successfully,” responds the guest. “So I have to show a bunch of kids that they can do that sh*t. You trying to tell them that they can’t do that sh*t is counterproductive; you’re feeding kids into the [label] system. You’re trying to tell them that I’m not independent. You’re trying to tell them that they can’t even call Apple. You can call Apple! Matter of fact, there’s ni**as that think that they can’t even get their sh*t on iTunes. [Coloring Book] wasn’t sent in an email to Apple; I still had to use [digital distribution, publishing, and licensing service] TuneCore. I implore you to use TuneCore. I implore you to use different distribution softwares and get your sh*t everywhere. And nobody has to take any money from you. How much percentage do you think Apple got from my Coloring Book songs? It ain’t no percentage! I paid. I pay into it, just like everyone else that uses TuneCore.”
Moments later, Chance expounds on just what happened surrounding his four-Grammy Award-winning 2016 album. “I had Coloring Book made. I didn’t have Apple pay for Coloring Book to get made. I didn’t have them call up any [guest] artists to get on my sh*t. Let me give you even a little more [background]: the whole  Drake/Apple deal is closer to what I think you think my [situation] is. [It] was offered to me first. Drake had a deal with Apple for a long time where he was their main artist. He put up a couple [of] projects [with exclusive windows on Apple Music]. They gave him way more money than they gave me; Drake’s a way bigger artist than me. They offered me, a long time ago, to do two projects with them. It would have been [Donnie Trumpet & The Social Experiment’s 2015 album] Surf and Coloring Book. But they wanted a solo Chance project, and I didn’t have that [ready] at the time. I was putting out Surf; Surf is a project I made with my band, and I’m not even really on all of the tracks. So you could understand why they wouldn’t really want that for the money that they gave to Drake at the time. So I made Surf, I still was able to convince them to put it up for free in the [iTunes] store—which was the first time they ever did [that], before Apple Music [existed]. But they told me in the meetings that there’s something they’re gonna drop [next] that’s gonna be crazy—it’s gonna take the old iTunes library and put that sh*t in the trash. This is the new thing. Apple Music, I didn’t know about that sh*t at the time. I finish Coloring Book.” Joe Budden interrupts with a laugh, adding “right on time,” suggesting that the platform and Chance worked in tandem.
Chance replies, “No. It was late. ‘Cause if it was on time, I would’ve got $20 million. But it was off-time, so I got $500,000. The $500,000 was in the midst of what they call ‘the streaming wars.’ So all these different platforms were fighting to put content on their [library exclusively] for a certain number of weeks, first. Frank [Ocean] had did something like that. Tidal artists had did stuff like that. Spotify started doing it,” recalls Chance, who states that a truce is now in place to stop exclusivity. “Basically [Apple] wanted to do a two-week-exclusive, which they had done with a bunch of artists. [I was] probably the best person that you could do it with, my sh*t hadn’t been on Tidal [or Spotify before]. They came to me, they said, ‘Here’s some money,’ which I used for advertising, ‘and we’ll put you in two commercials during the NBA Finals.’ That was what it was.”
The 25-year-old MC continues, providing some guidance for artist peers. “The most important thing, whether [artists] do an exclusive streaming deal or not, is keeping your masters and publishing. Those are the types of things that are your IP—intellectual property. When you die, your kids and your wife will have [them]. That sh*t can’t even be appraised. That is limitless in terms of the money that can make. Your imagery, all that stuff, gets signed away in 360-deals. You don’t even know that. You think you’re signing for an album or something—you’re signing away your likeness, your signing away your [merchandise] opportunities, you’re signing away so many different things.” The guest returns to his thesis, “You’re right, Apple has a huge community of people that they’re putting their music [marketing] out to, but I personally believe—you could believe me or not—that [Coloring Book] wouldn’t have debuted at #8 if I hadn’t [signed an exclusive deal with Apple], my sh*t would’ve been at #1. There was only one place you could get my [album] from. If you know my numbers, I’ve done crazy numbers on Live Mixtapes, Dat Piff, [and] Soundcloud…I got rid of numbers and money that I could’ve got to do [a deal with Apple]. But I was thinking the way that a lot of us think, which is ‘I need $500K.'” Later in the conversation, Chance speaks candidly about paying the team around him since they have found success.
Chance also says that if he had partnered with Spotify, Tidal, or Soundcloud, he would have been ineligible to win any of those four Grammy Awards for Coloring Book. “Months later, after I dropped my project, it [was announced] that streaming-only albums will be accepted—but only albums that are on a streaming platform that’s been verified by the Academy for over one year will be acceptable.” In the moments after, the rapper admits that he is aware some people consider him an “industry plant,” and say so on social media. That is part of the reason why he wanted to take nearly 20 minutes to show otherwise.
Elsewhere in the conversation, Chance confirms that he and Kanye West have not begun recording Good Ass Job, despite some recent news on the longstanding development. He explains why living in Los Angeles, California was dangerous to his health. The guest credits Katt Williams and Dave Chappelle as two of his biggest influences.