For years now, some of the best releases in hip-hop have been via free mixtapes. But when it comes to winning awards and being recognized by their peers, the artist's decision to release free music hurts them in the long run.

The National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences (NARAS) has declared that in order for a release to be considered for a Grammy Award, the project must be "commercially released in general distribution in the United States, i.e. sales by label to a branch or recognized independent distributor, via the internet, of mail order/retail sales for a nationally marketed product. Recordings must be available for sale from any date within the eligibility period through at least the date of the current year's voting deadline (final ballot)."

Chance The Rapper has not released a project for sale as of yet and is gearing up to drop another free project, Chance 3, on Friday, May 13. As one of the most talented MCs in the world, Chano feels that he deserves recognition with awards, despite the fact that he hasn't released music in accordance with NARAS. A fan has started a petition to allow free music to be eligible for Grammy nomination and cites Chance to make his case.

"Artists like Chance The Rapper, who are now getting national recognition and performing on national platforms (just this past week Chance performed on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon) are being punished for making their music available to everyone, rich or poor, by releasing their music for free," reads the petition. "It's obvious that these artists are making their music more accessible to people who deserve it even if they can't afford it, as well as decreasing pirating and illegally downloading music. Not all artists should be forced to release their music for free, but the ones who do should not be punished for doing so."

As of press time, the petition has been signed over 17,000 times and Chance showed his support for the petition by signing and tweeting out a link to the website.

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