Chance the Rapper‘s handful of Grammy wins (Best New Artist, Best Rap Album, Best Rap Performance) at the 59th annual awards represent just how far an independent artist — who gives away his music for free — can go.
Chance merely being nominated for Best Rap Album is a win in and of itself as Coloring Book kicked open the door for streaming-only releases. Though the Recording Academy has been adamant about the fact that the mixtape’s success had nothing to do with the eligibility revision that allows records released through streaming platforms to be eligible for Grammy consideration, the timing of the revision in conjunction with Chance’s release set the rapper up for a groundbreaking win — which is exactly what he got.
Considering Chance is the only artist to have submit a streaming-only album for Grammy consideration, it makes sense he has since become the first artist to win with such, though the win wasn’t a guarantee. Drake, Kanye West, De La Soul, ScHoolboy Q and DJ Khaled were all nominated in the same category, stiff competition that led Chance to remark during his acceptance speech, “I didn’t think we were going to get this one.”
Best Rap Album is just one of three Grammys Chano walked away with tonight (Feb.12); he also took home Best Rap Performance (“No Problem”) and Best New Artist — accolades which are all agreeably well deserved.
In addition to appearing on stage to accept his awards, Chance also delivered one of the evening’s last performances of the night with a Coloring Book medley of hits starting with “How Great” and ending with “Alll We Got.”