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How 20-Year Old Chance The Rapper Has Nearly Every Major Label Chasing Him

Chance the Rapper

In high school, Chance the Rapper was the kid with the backpack full of CDs, hustling in hallways, foisting his latest mixtape on unsuspecting classmates. Now he plays coy in meetings with major labels, biding his time while big numbers and grand schemes are discussed casually over pizza. On Tuesday (April 30), his newest release Acid Rap was downloaded some 50,000 times over night, according to an internal count. But even before then the emergent rapper from Chicago had already flown to New York and L.A. at the behest of Columbia, Republic, Def Jam, RCA, Atlantic, Interscope, Shady and Capitol, amongst others. In Austin during SXSW, where he was tapped by Red Bull to perform a showcase, Lyor Cohen reached out.

“I don’t really like meetings, I like recording and performing music,” says Chance, born Chancelor Bennett, 20. “But I need to set myself up for when the time does come that I need better distribution or just a bigger team behind me.”

Team Chance as it stands today is small but fierce and shrewdly effective. It includes his manager, Pat Corcoran, 23, a level-headed former promoter and blogger in Chance’s Chicago-based Save Money collective; publicist Dan Weiner, who also represents Donald Glover and started working Chance for free after seeing him at SXSW in 2012; and superstar CAA agent Cara Lewis, who added Chance to a roster that includes Kanye West and Eminem among others.

“Me and Chance have always had a chip on our shoulder like ‘We can do this and it doesn’t take much, just don’t be an idiot,” says Corcoran, who started working with Chance in April of last year after the release of his first solo mixtape “#10Day.” “Dan and Cara have been kind of like our insiders. They’ve been amazing while we get to know people and figure out what’s right for us.”

Weiner put Chance on tour with Glover, a.k.a. Childish Gambino, in May 2012. In July, Chance, who has a penchant for arresting shifts in vocal tone and cadence, landed a standout appearance on the Gambino’s own hit mixtape “Royalty.”

“Chance is easy to make songs with because he’s talented and fun to be around – it’s like hanging with your little cousin,” Glover says. “When he opened for us, I always heard people going nuts. You don’t see a lot of rap acts, especially young acts, that can perform on that level. ” READ MORE

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