Conflict of Interest. Lack of transparency. Disregard for Journalism.
These are some of the things that came to mind as was I researching this story involving Chance The Rapper & MTV. With the critical and commercial success of his album-mixtape ‘Coloring Book’, Chance became a household name. What makes Chance so unique and special is his anti-establishment attitude towards the music industry. He has made his name by being about ‘independence’ and the artist having full control. Knowing all of this, I can’t say I wasn’t disappointed when Chance pulled a very “industry” move.
According to SPIN magazine, it all started when David Turner, a writer for MTV News at the time, wrote a piece about how he felt “emotionally disconnected” with Chance’s ‘Coloring Book’. Turner saw ‘Coloring Book’ as a departure from his ‘Acid Rap’ days. He didn’t feel connected with the overt Christian theme Chance was pushing in his music and artistry. He read it as Chance’s attempt to go mainstream, a very music industry thing to do.
After the story made it’s way to MTV’s Snapchat Discovery channel, Chance’s management caught wind of it, didn’t like it, and then allegedly threatened to never work with MTV ever again. So what do you when the ‘it’ guy within hip hop threatens you? Do you stand by your writer, or do you cave? In MTV News’ case they chose to cave, un-publishing David’s article and deleting any social media mention of it. David’s piece was later published on Medium after he was no longer with MTV News.
This is not a good look for Chance. Here’s why. For a rapper who claims to be against music industry politics, yet pull a move right out of the music industry playbook, it’s bullshit. You know, the “play my record or I’m not showing up” type of move. Chance comes across as the selfless good church boy within hip hop. Come to find out, he’s not Jesus and apparently he’s not above the same bully tactics record labels have been known for. He’s just another artist whose main priority is their public image. It’s a far cry from his message of being anti music industry. The good guy image and persona doesn’t hold up too well with moves like this being done; bullying the media within hip hop because your music isn’t for select individuals.
Also this is bad for MTV, who has been in the process of re-branding itself in order stay relative within today’s youth culture. How cowardice of MTV to just cave to bully tactics. It’s a slap in the face of journalism and a blatant disregard for the integrity and honesty that is expected. If this is one of YOUR writer’s opinion, popular or not, stand by it.