Note: The following was originally posted on 12/4/20 at 9:26 p.m. - Ed.
It’s been roughly a year and a half since Chance The Rapper released The Big Day, his first studio album after spending the better part of a decade rising to musical superstardom on the back of a trio of beloved mixtapes. Focused largely on his then-recent wedding, the album was well-received by critics—we gave it an unqualified A—but less lauded by fans, who saw a cheerful, upbeat concept album where they’d been expecting the culmination of a meteoric artistic rise. That perception of fault wasn’t helped by the subsequent cancellation—after a mere 5 dates—of the tour supporting the album. The stated reason was a desire for the rapper (whose birth name is Chancelor Bennett) to spend more time with his new family—but the decision couldn’t help but raise eyebrows about whether The Big Day was exciting enough to drive people to purchase tickets.
Now, a new lawsuit purports to explain some of the questions raised by The Big Day, as the rapper’s former manager, Pat Corcoran, has just sued him for $3 million for money he claims he’s owed in relation to the album’s release. Among other things, Corcoran’s suit asserts that Chance’s decision to set a July 2019 release date for the album—allegedly ahead of any of its music being written—led to rushing and sloppiness, and ultimately detracted from the quality of the work. Per Variety, Corcoran’s suit reads, “Procrastination and lackadaisical effort, perpetuated by various hangers-on uninterested in the hard work of writing and recording, resulted in a freestyle-driven product of subpar quality,” adding that The Big Day was “a complete deviation from the meticulous writing process that brought Bennett fame.”
Corcoran basically accuses Chance of scapegoating him for the album’s failures, firing him in April of 2020 and turning his management duties over to his father and brother. Per Variety, Corcoran claims that he’s owed $3 million in “unpaid commissions on revenue from touring, streaming, album sales and merchandise,” and asserts that Bennett’s father tried to offer him a lump sum of $350,000 in exchange for his services instead.
Among other things, Corcoran’s suit asserts that he was key to the establishment of the independent path charted by Chance’s career, which eschewed major label representation in favor of self-released tracks. The suit tracks their long history together, before pivoting to an assertion that The Big Day was “lackluster,” and that “Bennett ultimately blamed Corcoran for the judgment rendered by his fanbase, rather than accept that his own lack of dedication had doomed the project.”
You can read the full text of the lawsuit here.
Update: A representative for Bennett has now reached out to us with a statement from his legal team:
Mr. Corcoran has filed a suit for allegedly unpaid commissions. In fact, Mr. Corcoran has been paid all of the commissions to which he is legally entitled. Most of the complaint consists of self-serving and fabricated allegations that are wholly unrelated to Mr. Corcoran’s claim for commissions and were plainly included in a calculated attempt to seek attention. Those allegations are wholly without merit, are grossly offensive and we will respond to them within the context of the litigation.