Chance the Rapper Talks Finding Independent Success With a Unique Style

He's one of the hottest new names in hip-hop, but he's not on a major label.

ByABC News
August 15, 2016, 8:42 AM

— -- Chance the Rapper is one of the hottest new names in hip-hop.

The Chicago native blends hip-hop with gospel and R&B on "Coloring Book," his latest mixtape. The rapper’s eclectic performances have caught the attention of the industry heavy hitters, including Jay Z and Beyonce, Madonna and Kanye West.

Chance has graced the cover of Billboard and Complex magazine and Nike just tapped him to be the voice of its new Olympics campaign.

In an interview with "GMA" co-anchor Robin Roberts, the 23-year-old rapper –- born Chancelor Bennett –- said all of his music has to do with freedom.

"I think there’s a lot of taboos in hip-hop that people try and stay away from," he said. "I think a big one is: people are afraid to speak about God to a certain extent and I think if you’re not free to speak about God then you’re not free."

The artist gained his following through social media and grassroots marketing and, although he’s been approached by several major record labels, he has chosen to remain independent.

"I think the music industry is something that's very separate from music," he said. "So, by always staying on the music side of it, I've found success," he said.

Instead of selling his music, he’s giving it away for free. His latest mixtape is only available on all streaming sources, including Apple Music, Tidal and Spotify, making it the first streaming-only album to chart on the Billboard 200 chart.

Before he was selling out arenas around the world, the rapper was at the Chicago Public Library’s YOUmedia Center, a multi-media youth learning space that gives students tools to foster their creativity.

Now he’s paying it forward by hosting a monthly open mic night for high school students, one of whom told “GMA” that the rapper’s story is an inspiration to him.

"I'm in the same type of programming he was into so," Semira Truth Garratt, a high school junior, said. "It makes me feel like I have a shot of doing something as big as he's been doing."

Chance's "Magnificent Coloring World Tour" kicks off on Sept. 15 in San Diego.