Chance the Rapper is now a local-media mogul.
He announced the deal to buy Chicagoist, a local news site covering the Windy City, in one of his four new tracks released at midnight ET Wednesday. In the song, “I Might Need Security,” he explains why.
“I bought the Chicagoist just to run you racist b-----s outta business,” Chance says in the song, which includes a backing-vocal loop throughout that repeats “f--k you.”
Chicagoist.com has been dormant since November 2017, when owner Joe Ricketts, the billionaire founder of TD Ameritrade, summarily shut down the site along with Gothamist, DNAinfo and others. That came after the sites’ staffers voted to join the Writers Guild of America East as their collective-bargaining rep.
In a statement, Chance the Rapper said, “I’m extremely excited to be continuing the work of the Chicagoist, an integral local platform for Chicago news, events and entertainment… I look forward to relaunching it and bringing the people of Chicago an independent media outlet focused on amplifying diverse voices and content.”
Chance the Rapper acquired Chicagoist from New York Public Radio’s WNYC, through the artist’s newly formed Social Media LLC, which aims to promote local investigative journalism, diversity, and representation for people of color in media. Terms of the deal for Chicagoist weren’t disclosed.
The 25-year-old rapper-songwriter-actor-producer, born Chancelor Bennett, hails from Chicago’s West Chatham neighborhood.
WNYC had initially taken ownership of the Chicagoist assets, including the site’s archives, internet domain, and social-media channels, when it acquired Gothamist and its associated sites in February. The public radio station has since relaunched Gothamist in New York City and hosts the archives of DNAinfo. (LAist.com is now part of Southern California Public Radio’s KPCC, and DCist.com is owned by Washington, D.C., public radio station WAMU.)
“We are delighted that the Chicagoist assets are finding a new home in the hands of a proud Chicagoan,” Laura Walker, president and CEO of New York Public Radio, which includes WNYC, said in a statement released early Thursday.
“WNYC has a strong commitment to local journalism and building community, and we are pleased that these assets will be used to support local coverage in the great city of Chicago.”