The More You Know: Media and Power

Case Studies from UW Bothell Media & Communication Studies

Major Record Label v. No Record Label (J.Cole & Chance The Rapper)

Whether one likes it or not, Politics and marketing plays a pivotal role in how society lives. The revolution of consumerism through the content of heavy advertising within visual and audio entertainment, essential all forms of entertainment upon media culture. Hip Hop is a residual that resides within those complex rules. Between two different artists, one mainstream that’s on a label, and the other, somewhat mainstream yet chooses to be independent from a label. I will be examining the two artists, J. Cole and his powerful lyrics that assented him to the top of the music charts working through a label. The other being Chance the Rapper, who is a much younger, newer and fresher artist that is easily climbing to the top of the music industry, specifically the rap industry without having a label. Both artists have garnered quite a lot of attention for themselves throughout their careers and have built a view base of over a million listens on their mix-tapes and albums world-wide.

J Cole being one of the most revolutionary rappers of today, has had quite a fascinating ride up to his fame. Starting his first label with Jay Z’s record label, Roc Nation, his growing up story was a fascinating climb up to the top. Cole was born in a U.S. airbase in Germany — his father being a G.I. and his mother a german. His childhood was a little different than a couple of other most influential rappers of our time. Starting off in a military base and rather than growing up in the bustling cities, he grew up in the suburbs of Lafayette, N.C., an experience that he has quoted to be “informative, influential, and sometimes scary. He graduated University at St.John’s University in New York and there built his confound interest in the rapping industry. The thing about Cole’s style is very unique, with his approach to rapping being more unconventional, he bends his words uniquely within his rhymes. Agreement within rhythm and meaning is central to work. His first experience trying to acquire a record label was different in it of itself. As a starting out artist craving for attention to gain a music following, Cole walked up to the Jay Z and passed him his mixtape, while the artist just looked at him in discussed. From then on out J Cole worked to support his mixtape’s by getting a $10 an hour job as a bill collector as well as sneaking into studios to perfect his music in order to gain attention from Roc Nation records. Within that year, J Cole was none other than the first artist to be signed to Jay Z’s record label with a unique style eventually starting his own within several years of his booming success as an artist.

BALLY's 'Off the Grid' New York premiere

Chance has a uniquely built story himself. With gaining attention of his music through newer forms of online music entertainment, Chance the Rappers attention was a much more newer and innovative version of success within the music industry. Working with inspirational conventional artists at the age of 20 like Kanye West, he has also acquired attention through the way he musically tells his story within his music. Acquiring a style quite similar to him with rhythm and meaning, he incorporates a style that establishes itself in his own unique niche with a powerful language he puts behind it. Chances third mixtape, Coloring Book, which was streamed on Apple music over 57.3 million times debut number 8 on the Billboard 200. It was his own decision, the 20-year-old rapper had made it clear he wanted to release his music at no cost without the help of a record label. Kanye West had given him a contract with G.O.O.D. Music, but he had declined instead.


Salaam, Mtume ya. “The Aesthetics of Rap.” African American Review, vol. 29, no. 2, 1995, pp. 303–315.,

Croteau, David, and William Hoynes. The business of media: corporate media and the public interest. Thousand Oaks: Pine Forge Press, 2007. Print.

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