Chance the Rapper is facing a lawsuit by his former manager over the release of his last album, The Big Day. Pat Corcoran, who was instrumental in Chance’s ability to find breakout success as an independent rapper starting in 2012, filed a suit in Illinois this week alleging that Chance (real name Chancelor Bennett) broke an oral agreement between the two and owes over $3 million in missed commissions, according to Courthouse News. Chance fired Corcoran in April, replacing him with his father, Ken Bennett, and rapper brother Taylor Bennett. Corcoran now claims breach of contract and a violation of the Illinois Sales Representative Act, among other counts, stemming from Chance’s refusal to continue their alleged yearslong agreement to pay Corcoran 15 percent of profits, including for an industry-standard three years after his firing. Corcoran further claims Chance’s father has only offered him a lump sum of $350,000, and interactions related to the payments have been “contentious.” Representatives for Chance the Rapper have not responded to Vulture’s request for comment.
In the lawsuit, Corcoran traces problems in his relationship with Chance to February 2019, when the rapper announced that his debut studio album, The Big Day, would come out in July, without consulting Corcoran. “It was likely there was not enough time for the creative process involved in releasing an album,” the suit claims, citing Chance’s March wedding. Corcoran implies Chance announced the album “before the recording or writing process even began,” and goes on to knock the “unproductive and undisciplined studio sessions” that followed. “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 sub-par quality,” the suit goes on to claim, calling the album “a complete deviation from the meticulous writing process that brought Bennett fame for his wordplay and wit.” Corcoran cites the album’s tepid critical reception and quick fade from the charts as hurting both Chance’s and his own reputations, along with not creating enough hype for a subsequently planned arena tour. After Corcoran recommended Chance cancel the tour, the rapper instead first postponed it, then ultimately never rescheduled it. “Bennett ultimately blamed Corcoran for the judgment rendered by his fan base rather than accept that his own lack of dedication had doomed the project,” the filing claims.
The lawsuit claims Corcoran planned, alongside Chance, to rerelease his first three mixtapes — 10 Day, Acid Rap, and Coloring Book — on vinyl, only for Chance’s brother Taylor to cancel the plans. Chance’s allegedly “inexperienced” brother and father continued to direct his career and “erode Bennett’s confidence in Corcoran,” with Corcoran’s suit claiming they “were seemingly more concerned with monetizing every available promotional opportunity for Bennett.” They eventually booked Chance to perform on Ellen, Good Morning America, and The Late Show With Stephen Colbert against Corcoran’s recommendations that Bennett lay low and work on new music. “These appearances served only to further exacerbate the failure of The Big Day,” the suit claims. Chance fired Corcoran shortly after, “despite several attempts at reconciliation.”
Since The Big Day, Chance has featured on songs by Brandy and Justin Bieber, along with hosting Saturday Night Live, judging Netflix’s Rhythm & Flow, and hosting a Quibi reboot of Punk’d. On December 4, he dropped a video for his 2017 Christmas song “Are U Live?” with Jeremih and Valee, celebrating Jeremih’s release from the hospital after his bout with COVID-19.
Updated, December 5: Chance’s legal team gave Vulture the following statement, insisting that “Mr. Corcoran has been paid all of the commissions to which he is legally entitled” from the artist. Chance’s team writes that the former manager’s lawsuit is made up 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.”