393 – DAMN -days in between Chance the Rapper’s 10Day mixtape and this year’s masterpiece Acid Rap. All that happened in between were sold out Metro shows, studio sessions with the RZA and Skrillex, profiles from Pitchfork, Vibe, Complex, a XXL Freshman nomination, a spot at Lolla 2013, and more. The Chathum, Illinois native celebrated his rise to the top of the Chicago rap, and music, scene this weekend with two sold out shows at the Metro.
Chants for Chance rang out for much of the night. “When I say JUICE, ya’ll say JUICE!” a young fan in the crowd screamed in between sets, with the balcony even joining in on the impromptu chorus from the standout Acid Rap track. As Sir Michael Rocks’ set finished up, deafening “We Want Chance” pleads would continue until Chano finally took the stage.
Opening with “Good Ass Intro,” Chance footworked his way across stage, displaying an array of dance moves as the crowd rapped every word (and shouted every adlib) along with their hometown hero. The energy would stay at a high level all night, with Chance pausing at times with a smile on his face admiring the crazed capacity Metro crowd. During 10Day‘s mellowed out druggy anthem “Brain Cells,” the blooming all-star performer realized the audience was particularly “turnt,” adding a little extra force in each line and each “IGH!”
Despite also playing “Hey Ma” and “Prom Night” (and later “Fuck You Tahm Bout” with just about every single member of the SaveMoney crew storming the stage and wilding out with their now uber successful brother), this was Acid Rap Live, honoring the so-far release of the year. The beautiful Noname Gypsy joined Chance the Rapper on stage to perform the Willie Hutch sampled love song “Lost.” Working as a hype (wo)man during the first two verses, she took command of the stage with her own verse channeling her inner Lauryn Hill, voice climbing up and down the beat, seeming not the least bit nervous about performing in front of a thousand plus. This is in part due to Chance and the confidence he exudes on stage.
Before “Favorite Song,” Chance taught everyone how to “hit the Zan,” a dance created by fellow SaveMoney member Preston San aka Tokyo Shawn. When a member in the audience wasn’t complying, he pointed him out and let him know “you’re not too cool for this.” When the chorus hit, everyone in the building zanned and zanned until they couldn’t zan no more. During the intro to “Smoke Again,” DJ Oreo joined Chance on stage and went wild with him. The Metro ground was actually shaking a bit when a guy began spraying the crowd with a cool cloud of smoke from a fire extinguisher looking thing.
Vic Mensa was next on stage for his verse on “Cocoa Butter Kisses.” Vic, a great performer in his own right, rapped his high octane standout feature from Acid Rap as the crowd swooned over two of Chicago’s youngest, and most talented, rappers on stage together. The chorus may have been the loudest it got all night, with Vic and Chance taking turns conducting the audience turned back-up singers.
The highlight of the night though was the encore, after about twenty plus SaveMoney crew members had left the stage. I attended both shows this weekend, and on Saturday, the encore was the low point of the show. Sunday was something else. With Greg Landfair on drums and Macie Stewart on keys, both formally of the now broken up Kids These Days, all the kinks seemed to have been worked out. Chance rapped hidden Acid Rap track “Paranoid” with a hand in his pocket, clearly wanting the focus to be on the lyrics and the powerful message in the song. The live band added a special element to the song, this time all the verses starting at the right time and all of Landfair’s drum breakdowns shining in their own light.
Chance and his father shared a unique and meaningful moment during “Everything’s Good.” Before starting Chance dedicated the song to his father who was seated upstairs, raising an arm at the acknowledgement. Chance went through the first part of his verse flawlessly, then tripped up at “I ain’t really that good at goodbye.” He stopped, tried the part again to the same result. DJ Oreo tried to help him out by rapping the rest, but Chance was not phased. He was going to nail this. He walked over to the side of the stage, looked up at his father who urged him on with applause, and Chance nailed the rest of the verse.
I ain’t really that good at goodbyes, I ain’t really that bad at leaving
I ain’t really always been a good guy, I used to be thirsty thievin’
Runnin’ through purses even persons leave em hurtin’ bleedin’
I ain’t really help the helpless, I used to be worse than worthless
Now I’m worth hooks and verses, I’m good like books in churches
Harold’s and Hooks and Churches
Whether it’s planned pauses in songs to let the crowd finish up verses, tumbling down to the ground after slipping on water, or teaching the audience new dances, Chance commands attention and dictates every second of the show. Everyone’s eyes are always fixed on this kid, no matter how many people he brings out on stage. Seemingly a seasoned vet at performing, Mr. Bennett knows exactly who he is and hasn’t let his recent success change that. He knows he’s worked hard to get to where he’s at and we know there hasn’t been this much buzz surrounding a rapper since Kendrick Lamar released Section.80. “I love you Chicago,” he said before exiting the stage. He’s 20 years old and enjoying the ride.