Friday, November 15, 2013

Chance the Rapper @ The Fox Theater, Boulder, CO 11/12/13 - "Social Experiment Tour" (Review)

A Review By: Kenny Emmer
Of the countless show's I've attended over the year, nothing really struck me so emotionally as much as a night with Chance the Rapper at The Fox Theatre in Boulder, CO. There's a certain spirit to hip-hop that empowers my love for the genre a little more than others. The culture, the messages, lyricism, and the soul - it's something a large audience (me included) can often strongly identify with. There's nothing like singing along or spitting the rhymes of your favorite rapper who happens to be addressing a social issue that affects your own life in some way. I believe no other genre can tell a story, send a message, and address a multitude of issues as eloquently as hip-hop can; and Chance the Rapper is one of strongest artists to represent this idea. Chance has been blowing up over the past year, working with artists such as Lil' Wayne, James Blake, Ab Soul, Twista, Childish Gambino, and many more. Chance has released two mixtapes for free, "10 Day" and "Acid Rap", and has been offered countless record labels to possibly sign on to, but continues to work independently. His lyrics consist of Chicago gang violence, acid tripping, weed smoking, education and school suspension, family values, and promoting peace and love among other things. Chance has such an intelligent and clever way of rhyming so unique to hiphop it's no surprise how quick his rise to fame has been. The production on his music has quite an acid jazz feel, hence the "Acid Rap" moniker and repeated LSD references. It is very soulful, melodic, and generally joyous and uplifting. So to experience all this live was pretty overwhelming. Chicago based DJs Rashad and Spinn opened the show with a lot of trap heavy hip-hop tracks. It was a bumping way to start the show but I wasn't really feeling it. It was obvious the crowd was pretty anxious for Chance to walk out.
Chance performed with live instrumental support enhanced with trippy visuals projected in the background. Chance perfomed Acid Rap in nearly all its entirety, as well as a couple tracks from 10 Day, and an experimental version of his guest verse on Lil Wayne's song "You Song." And most surprisingly, he did a beautiful cover of "Fix You" by Coldplay. It's safe to say I haven't seen a crowd that passionate and excited for an artist before this. This crowd was loud, responsive, and in awe of the raw talent by both the musicians and Chance himself, so much to the point of chanting "We want Chance!" prior to his set and "10 more songs!" multiple times as he exited the stage....twice. Chance's voice is fairly nasally and raspy, but not in a bad way. One would say he doesn't have the most beautiful singing voice in the world but he's not a bad singer by any means. It's interesting, his voice would often send chills down my spine the way any other extremely talented r&b or pop singer would, despite Chance's vocal range not being very large. Particularly his cover of Fix You induced some intense goosebumps. Chance has crafted this image and sound in which he embodies this young, innocent, acid enjoying character who can simply speak or exclaim over jazz filled beats with catchy hooks, exclusive ad lib, clever word play, and memorable melodies that tell a wondrous story about the beautiful things in life, and occasionally the dark. It is very easy to identify with Chance, as he raps about how much love and respect he has for his family, specifically his mom and his grandma, and how "everybody's somebody's everything, nobody's nothing." Chance's poetic description of love in "That's Love" will have you feeling very warm inside. Chance closed with this as he pointed out to the crowd whilst constantly singing "I love you!" Each and every person had to have been smiling at this point. Aside from his serious and uplifting side of the show Chance had performed all of his purely fun, entertaining jump-up and dance tracks about summer jamming, weed smoking, and acid dropping, such as "Favorite Song," "Chain Smoker," and "Smoke Again." The crowd reached record heights as they jumped up and down to the sound of the beat. There were strong positive vibes glistening throughout the venue, as joints literally rained down onto the stage.

"Boulder, Colorado last night was ridiculous, forreal thunderstorm of joints and blunts raining on the stage last night the entire time. Love." - Chance the Rapper

Chance described a dream he had in which he performed at the Fox Theatre in Boulder but Jay Z was there to introduce him on stage. And as he described how amazing the crowd was in his dream, the crowd got louder and louder. After my experience at the Smoker's Club Tour with Joey Bada$$ and more, and now Chance the Rapper at the Fox, I feel overcome with excitement and optimism for how this music will play out and affect the world throughout the coming years. I've dreamt of a world that pushes for a moral consciousness in which every person cares for each other as if they are their own blood. And before now, I've rarely seen music that spreads this idea. Up until now, music has continuously followed this pattern of self satisfaction and reflection of personal loss or gain. Mainstream hiphop has painted an exaggerated picture of what every American strives for - money and popularity. It itself has become this commercialized product that misleads rather than informs. With artists like Macklemore, Kendrick Lamar, Joey Bada$$, and Chance the Rapper, a light now exists in what was a very dark area of the music industry. I believe music is one of the strongest influential powers in the world, but the industry itself has been manipulated and controlled and used the wrong way. These artists are pushing it in the right direction, and I want to see more out of it. Artists are finally ignoring the possible financial benefits of a contract. Artists like Joey and Chance are there purely for their fans, and more and more people are beginning to see this. I hope that one day the masses or the mainstream will turn to artists like these, because through this the world will only improve.


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