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Chance the Rapper at the Commodore Ballroom

Chance the Rapper at the Commodore Ballroom Vancouver

Review – Chance the Rapper at the Commodore Ballroom, Vancouver, Dec. 16 2013

– by Zoe Christmas

Chance the Rapper burst into the hip-hop scene with his self-released mixtape Acid Rap, which dropped in April of this year. His tape – an introspective recording inspired mostly by his experiences with LSD – earned him respect from the hip-hop scene, and even led him to collaborations with Lil Wayne and Joey Bada$$, among others. For the past few months, the Chicago native has been on his Social Experiment Tour throughout the United States and Canada.

On Monday night, Chance played the Commodore with his DJs Rashad and Spinn and his band. He entered the stage solo to “So Good (Good Ass Intro)”, which worked the crowd into a harmonic, R’n’B groove. He followed with “NaNa” and “Pusha Man”, and enticed the audience to dance and sing along.

After a few solo songs, Chance brought out a four-piece band, which included a drummer, keyboard player and trumpeter. Chance’s playful and often childish vocal delivery is perhaps an acquired taste, but his engagement with his band was impressive. They started with “Everybody’s Something” – one of his more popular songs, the video of which has garnered over a million hits on YouTube.

Video – Chance the Rapper, “Everybody’s Something”:

While some of his songs seemed a bit overproduced and brash, the sound and composition itself is definitely skilled. The set wasn’t as fast-paced as most rap shows are, but Chance’s steady stage presence, participation with the audience and visual effects kept the performance rooted. After a 40-minute set, Chance left the stage, teasing the crowd to chant his name for an encore. He came back to play his most popular hit, “Juice”, and continued to put on a show for another half-hour.

Considering he’s barely in his twenties, Chance’s work ethic, range and performance is commendable. Though his songs are mostly minimal and lyrical, the live music itself incorporates several styles of music, including jazz, pop, R’n’B and hip-hop, and makes him stand out from other young hip-hop artists.

I can see Chance the Rapper sticking around for a while – indeed, over the weekend, he released a short documentary about his Social Experiment Tour and hinted about a new album of the same name for 2014.

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