Chance The Rapper
|Photo by Erik Hess|
with DJ Rashad and Spinn
First Avenue, Minneapolis
Monday, December 9, 2013
Chicago's Chance the Rapper made a huge impression this year with Acid Rap, a tightly realized mixtape that floored critics and fans alike. In the midst of his Social Experiment Tour, Chance justified the hype with a solid performance at First Avenue, complete with a backing band.
DJ Rashad and Spinn opened the evening from the upper level, out of sight, as they blasted uptempo footwork and juke remixes and controlled the trippy visuals that played on a screen onstage. Several notches faster than the typical club fare you'll hear in Minneapolis, the duo reworked songs by Future and Notorious B.I.G. to remove the syrupy slow-burn slap and replace it with jacked-up pummel, finding the rave-leaning energy hidden inside familiar rap bangers. The set played off Chicago scene traditions that may have been lost on the audience, who seemed to be saving their energy for the main event despite the DJs' explicit goal of getting the place amped. Their music set the scene for Chance, whose own work incorporates a number of the styles Rashad and Spinn displayed in full force, but the vibrantly colored animations that played in the background grabbed most of the attention as the pair played the background.
|Photos by Erik Hess|
When Chance literally leaped onstage to the familiar opening of "Good Ass Intro," the cheers and screamed lyrics began and didn't cease through the duration of the show. He started out solo, running around the stage and spitting his fluid raps with the trademark snotty melodies and spitfire energy that propelled him quickly to the deserved position he earned this past year.
Having honed a style that naturally walks the line between bar-heavy chop-rapper and from-the-soul harmonic crooner, he effortlessly played both parts and highlighted each aspect depending on what would make the particular song stronger. Perfectly synced to every song, the background visuals varied from black-and-white T&A to cartoons to Chief Keef videos. He left briefly after a few songs and returned with a band, including two keyboardists, a drummer, and a trumpet player. The vibe shifted to find Chance playing bandleader, belting lines to the rafters and getting jazzy with his melodies. Bands can sometimes take attention off rappers that utilize them, but Chance maintained his formidable stage presence with Chi-town dance moves and continued joviality.