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Chance the Rapper on His Plans For The Chicagoist

Written by on July 20, 2022

Chance the Rapper bought The Chicagoist news outlet in 2018, with intentions of facilitating more hyper-local journalism.
Photo by Morgan Ciocca / Vocalo Radio, Chicago Public Media

In 2018, Chance the Rapper made news for buying the Chicagoist, a hyperlocal news outlet that was originally a part of the larger Gothamist network of eight websites. He announced the purchase in the lyrics of his song, “I Might Need Security”:

“I bought the Chicagoist / just to run you racist [expletive] out of business.”

Not long after he released a more thorough statement via WNYC (owner of Gothamist and previous owner of the Gothamist network of sites), in part, stating that: “I’m extremely excited to be continuing the work of the Chicagoist, an integral local platform for Chicago news, events and entertainment,” said Chance the Rapper. “WNYC’s commitment to finding homes for the “ist” brands, including Chicagoist, was an essential part of continuing the legacy and integrity of the site. I look forward to re-launching it and bringing the people of Chicago an independent media outlet focused on amplifying diverse voices and content.” The release noted that the site’s assets were acquired by Chance via his Social Media LLC.

At the time of this story’s publication, the website is offline, but during their conversation, Vocalo host Ayana Contreras asked Chance about his plans for the site.

Chance the Rapper: I didn’t buy it because I wanted to make a bunch of money. I bought it, because I think that there is a stronger journalism scene to be had in Chicago. I think that hyper-local journalism. That journalism around the court circuits, around police misconduct, around missing persons, and stuff that’s hyper-local could be strengthened.

The first thing that we did with Chicagoist was we did a civics educational video. We did a piece in collaboration with Block Club Chicago, with TRiiBe and with Charles Preston, who writes for The Defender, where we did a breakdown on how the aldermanic campaigns work, how the campaign war chest worked. Just a bunch of a little deep dive into how nepotism in Chicago works. That was really dope.

Then we did a voter registration, or a voter information website. Basically, we’re just in a space right now where we’re trying to find the right people to work with, so that we can eventually launch. It’s been cool, the things that I’ve learned. The first year that we got it we went to NABJ in Detroit. I met a lot of lifelong friends in the journalism world, and Black writers and editors that have helped me with other stuff since. I think it’s all in due time. I think there are people that are waiting to see what I do with it, and I think that they’ll be pleasantly surprised when it does materialize. It’s also cool just being a black dude that people, white journalists could point to and be like, “This n—– is the system.”

Read More From Vocalo’s Interview With Chance the Rapper