[photo from http://www.chanceraps.com]
Chance the Rapper is a successful rapper, celebrated and loved by today’s youth. He was born in 1993, falling into the “millenial” generation. Because of his age, he is very up to date with social media, and comfortable using technology. His most recent, and most famous album Coloring Book was the first ever stream only album to be nominated for, or win, a grammy. He gives out his music for free and makes all his money from concerts and merchandise.
Chance grew a middle class neighborhood in Chicago, Illinois, and he makes his hometown pride well known. Because of where he grew up, fans know that his humble face is not an act. He is well educated, and his dad worked directly for Barack Obama. Valuing service and humanitarian efforts was instilled in Chance in his youth. He constantly refers to his dad as his biggest influence and inspiration. Both of his parents have said that in Chance’s youth, they hoped he would follow in their footsteps, work for the government, and hold office one day. Now he is making them proud, not by working directly with the government, but by constantly pushing for progress in this country. He does a lot of philanthropy in Chicago, especially in the public schools, which he was fortunate enough to not have to attend. He went to a private high school in Chicago. He knows that not everyone is so fortunate, and therefore does his best to help the rest.
In 2017 Chance won three Grammys; best rap album, best new artist, and best rap performance for his song “no problem.” He is unique because he is not signed to a label, so he creates, manages, and releases all of his art on his own terms. He is a Christian, which may or may not be a contributing factor to his generosity and eccentric approach to the music business. He makes his faith loud and clear in both his song lyrics, and on other platforms such as instagram and magazine articles. In an article I read from Teen Vogue I remember him talking about his faith with such openness. Not only is he open to share, but he is open-minded, and loves that Christians and Atheists alike love and celebrate his music.
Chance has a daughter who definitely informs both his music and social media presence. Whenever he is with her, he is posting stories of her on instagram. He also posts plenty of pictures with her; his love for her is obvious and adorable. She adds a very down to earth, relatable element to his image, because all babies are on the same “level.” None of them are famous, or have instagram followers, (actually, some do, haha). The videos and pictures of him parenting are just like any normal persons pictures and videos of them parenting. Those images make him that much more relatable and therefore likable.
SOCIAL MEDIA PRESENCE & ANALYSIS
Like Ariana Grande, whose social media presence I analyzed earlier this semester, Chance’s instagram is by far his most personal and expressive platform. He posts pictures of things and people he is inspired by, videos of funny things happening in his life, and advertisements for his tours and new music he is putting out with other artists. His instagram, just like him, puts off a very down to earth vibe.
Chance’s twitter is mostly promotional, but you can tell that he is the one doing the tweeting. He posts some funny things, will retweet his fans, and generally is quite candid on this platform. The other day he posted “I ain’t too proud to beg for votes” regarding his VMA nomination for his “Same Drugs” video. Most recently, he is focuses on the VMA awards and therefore is retweeting all of his fans who are posting about voting for him. He has 5 million followers and he follows 2769 accounts. A significant percentage of Chance’s tweets are actually retweets, often of fans saying they like his music. He doesn’t post so much about his personal life on twitter, it is really all about his music.
Chance the Rapper’s facebook page is simple. It seems to be run by someone other than him, and it is not very creative. It is though it is there because it has to be, because some manager told him it was required in today’s industry. After a lot of scrolling, it looks like he cross posts on twitter and facebook rather often. His facebook is his most promotional and professional platform, with no personal content. On facebook Chance posts about concerts, interviews, festivals, his tour, new records, music videos. He did wish Malia Obama a happy birthday on facebook, which is not promotional, so there’s that.
Lastly, I wonder if his music videos can be considered part of his social media? Especially because they are uploaded to youtube. Just like the rest of his content, his videos are not doctored up or beautified to any special standard. I have seen fans complain about this, saying that his videos could be more entertaining, but he is clearly not concerned about that for now.
[Chance the Rapper’s “Same Drugs” official music video]
His youtube account also has the videos of his TV performances, such as his appearance on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon. All of this content is about his work, no happy birthday shootouts to Malia Obama here. He does not make a video for every one of his songs so many of the videos on his youtube account are simply performances he has done. I know that his fans, including myself, are looking for more videos.
A google search of “Chance the Rapper” returns mostly his social media pages, and sites to stream his music. His wikipedia pages also comes up, along with some interviews he has done, the first being one with GQ.
His website www.chanceraps.com has links to multiple media platforms. These include twitter, facebook, instagram, itunes, spotify, soundcloud and youtube. The first three are truly social medias in that it is where he “interacts” with his fans. The rest are platforms where listeners can stream his songs and watch his music videos.
As I mentioned before, his merchandise is a big part of his business. He is always wearing his #3 hat and that in itself is an advertisement. He sells those hats on his website. The #3 hat has become iconic. Sometimes we, as consumers and fans, forget and become numb to the ways we are being advertised to. Celebrities wearing their own merchandise is a great example of this. how we are being sold things. Chance for example, will post a video of him playing with his baby girl, (the video will be sweet, will make my heart melt and will open me up vulnerably). He will be wearing the hat and while I’m having goggly eyes over the cuteness my subconscious mind will be associating the joy with Chance and his brand.
The home page of his website is a stream of his latest work. It scrolls like a blog would, each piece sitting under the above one. A piece of music, followed by his latest video, followed by a service project focused on Chicago public schools are the current posts. You can scroll on to find more videos and music. The top of the home page has three tabs: tour, coloring book (his latest album), and shop. It is done simplisticly, yet with a youthful vibe. I’d say that is another standout characteristic, his childishness. Yet with him, it is a good thing. He is doing such significant work in the world that it is really balanced to see him having a blast and taking things not so seriously sometimes.
Chance’s digital footprint is mostly in line with his brand. A lot of his earlier work, both formal and informal, (projects he worked on in high school and went viral when he got famous), is less mature than the current stuff he is putting out. That is expected though! Chance is now doing so much political work, and his content didn’t have that vibe before. His latest album also has a lot of spiritual references as well. In an interview with GQ, after Chance referred to something he hoped was no longer on the internet, the interviewer said “Rule number one of the Internet: It’s never gone. Know that, young man.” Chance responded jokingly, clearly not taking it too seriously, or having much regret about anything that he had posted.
ANALYSIS & CONCLUSION
What is Chance doing well? Everything. He is winning grammy’s and encouraging his fans to vote him for the video music awards he was nominated for. On the real, he is doing instagram well. He could make his twitter more personal, and he could make his facebook personal at all. Overall, more posts would be good.
I would like to see more performance pictures. Two of my other favorite artists, Ariana Grande and Mac Miller post so many pictures of them on stage, and it would be fun to see pictures of Chance doing shows.
His grassroots approach to promoting his music makes me question his social media in comparison to other stars. I just compared him to Mac Miller and Ariana Grande, but for all I know, those very high quality pictures might be pre selected for them to post, and then all they have to do is add a caption and hit “post.” She has her medias managed and directed by Scooter Braun, who was quoted saying “Ariana used to, all the time, send me a message “hey, what do you think of this?’” Beyond that, she is getting the advice to be candid with her posts. I’m not so sure Chance has someone so close on his back, pressuring him to post more.
His use of social media is pretty standard, yet underused. Gender may also play a role in the fact that he doesn’t post so often. When it comes to social media, women tend to participate more. On average most male artists post less than their female counterparts. Overall, I would simply encourage him to post more, and get a little more personal and fun on twitter and facebook. I love Chance the Rapper!