In high school, Chance the Rapper was the kid with the backpack full of CDs, 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 April 30, his newest release "Acid Rap" was downloaded 50,000 times overnight, according to his team. But even before then, the emergent rapper from Chicago had already flown to New York and Los Angeles at the behest of Columbia, Republic, Def Jam, RCA, Atlantic, Interscope, Shady and Capitol, among others.

Subscribe to billboard biz to continue reading this article and thousands more. subscribers get:
  • 24/7 coverage of every genre and sector of the business with over 150 exclusive charts
  • Bulletin: Breaking stories, chart info and analysis sent directly to your inbox every weekday
  • Billboard Magazine iPad Edition: An enhanced version of the magazine with video, photo galleries and playable charts
  • Archives: A rich history of articles and exclusive charts

Join now or Log In