Chance the Rapper may be one of the only artists to wear his own tshirt to his own show, and still look like the coolest guy in the universe. Maybe it was an after-effect of selling out 3 shows in NYC, just from the popularity of a mixtape. Since Acid Rap dropped internet hip hop heads and industry tastemaketers have been buzzing about the soulful Chicago sound Chance is bringing to the rap game, and now that buzz is translating into packed houses for Chance’s “Social Experiment” tour
All the Chance fans were more than hyped for the show to start, and SOB’s was packed by the time he came to the stage. First thing I noticed was that, like a lot of internet-popular hip hop, almost all the fans were white guys, and it skewed a little bit bro. If I didn’t know better – and if the warmup DJ didn’t keep playing “Pop that” – I would it was an indie show.
Chance was so on-time that people were still coming in the door – or coming back inside from smoking a blunt around the corner – when he took the stage. He brought a full band, trumpet included, to back up his soulful sound.
He started off with everyone’s favorite “Favorite Song”, and the bros immediately turned into fan-boys. People knew every word – literally – and sang along to everything. The live percussion and horns added a layer of complexity to the live sound, and having the band on stage gave a nice balance to Chance’s energy. When Chance got to the chorus on “Pusha Man”, everyone was going insane in response to his stage presence.
Chance took breaks from jumping around and moving the crowd for some soulful breakdowns. His voice is more than a unique rap tone – he really can sing. On “Lost” he seems to meander around his vocal range as the band improvised, bringing people back to singing along with his trademark lines we can all relate to – “Her pussy love me, her heart like fuck it”
Coming to see Chance, I had no idea that the love of his fans ran so deep. It’s pretty rare to see guys singing along unabashedly to another dude crooning on stage, but the combination of witty raps and trippy production someone made Chance work. He kept the crowd with him through the guns and drug raps, all the way up through a Coldplay cover (not my fave part, but I dealt). He not only connected to his fans, but he made it look effortless. That’s the key to cool – making it look like you don’t care while pouring your heart out. Chance the Rapper (please say the rapper) has that balance down cold.
If you get a chance to see the Social Experiment Tour, don’t miss out.