Chance the Rapper has no love for record labels. On Monday (Apr. 24), the Chicago MC proved this yet again, as he kicked off his “Be Encouraged Tour” in San Diego, Calif.
During his performance of “No Problem,” Lil Chano was backed by a large screen that featured names and logos of record companies. However, he changed those names to insulting terms, swapping out Sony for Phony, going from Def Jam Recordings to Don’t Join Recordings, and from Aftermath Entertainment to Can’t Do Math Entertainment.
But it didn’t end there. Chance also changed Warner Music Group to Wiener Music Group, Virgin to Villain, Motown to No Crown, Epic to Edick, and Universal to Undiverse. The screens went from flashing these logos to showing off the three Grammys Chano won this year.
Chance has been critical of labels for years and “No Problem” is just one of the songs in which he discusses this philosophy. He also spits about it on “Finish Line / Drown” off last year’s Coloring Book. “I’ve been getting blocked just trying to make songs with friends,” he raps. “Labels told me to my face that they own my friends.”
The Grammy-winning artist has been celebrated by many for this stance. Recently, he was named one of TIME’s 100 Most Influential People. Writing about him for the magazine’s profile, Common praised Chano for doing “it all as an independent artist, without the support of a label.”
However, the Chi-town spitter has also come under criticism for his ties to Apple Music, a company that is viewed by some as having record label qualities. Chance responded to this criticism directly last month, when he admitted to receiving $500,000 from the tech giant.
“I never felt the need to correct folks on my relationship with @apple but now that more people have tried to discredit my independence, I wanna clear things up,” he tweeted. “@apple gave me half a mil and a commercial to post Coloring Book exclusively on applemusic for 2 weeks. That was the extent of my deal, after 2 weeks it was on SoundCloud for free. I needed the money and they’re all good people over there.”
— Carlo Miguel (@MIGGGGA) April 25, 2017
The “Be Encouraged” trek’s opening night wasn’t just about dissing labels. It also included a rare performance of Chance’s take on Kanye West’s “Waves.” The unreleased edition, which didn’t make the final cut on The Life of Pablo, can be heard below.
The “Be Encouraged Tour” is set to continue across North America before closing on Oct. 20 in Phoenix, Ariz.