Former XXL freshman Chance The Rapper has earned himself a whopping seven Grammy Award nominations for his latest project Coloring Book, and he’s done so without the help of a major label.

The thing is, he didn’t have to do it on his own. In fact, his idol Kanye West even offered him the chance to sign to his G.O.O.D. Music imprint. Chance declined the offer in favor of retaining his freedom as an independent artist, but turning down one of his heroes wasn’t the easiest thing to do.

“It’s not easy at all,” Chance explains to ABC’s Robin Miller. “Definitely not telling Kanye no. It’s definitely hard keeping that resistance, but I want to teach people that it’s doable.”

The pressures of signing to a major record label weigh heavily on rappers everywhere, but Chance doesn’t show any signs of succumbing to it. To date, all of his releases have been free and streamable, and it doesn’t seem like he’s going to change his music release methods any time soon.

He tells ABC that his goal is to spread a message about artist independence. “I wanted to give the idea of freedom back to artists and one of the biggest things is control over how you release your music,” Chance explains. “So streaming and free releases, I figured that that would be a good beacon to have people at least pick up on what I was doing as an independent artist.”

In other Chance-related news, the Coloring Book artist has just dropped a mixtape with his fellow Chicagoan, Jeremih. The project, titled Merry Christmas Lil’ Mama, features nine Christmas-themed tracks, and is filled with plenty of awesome melodies from two of Chicago’s best. You can stream the project here.

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Gunnar is a full-time field director for Turning Point USA and a student at the University of Utah studying Finance and Political Science. Gunnar has a strong interest in corporate law and pubic service and plans on attending law school next fall. Eventually, Gunnar plans on running for public office in the state of Utah.

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