Chance the Rapper
The Ritz, Raleigh
Tuesday, March 29, 2016
Last November, Chance the Rapper disappointed North Carolina fans with the news that he would have to postpone indefinitely his Raleigh and Charlotte tour dates. He returned on Tuesday to make things up to his Triangle faithful, though, promising attendees a show that would be different—and better—than the one they missed last year.
The differences were evident before Chance even took the stage. Gone was the trio of buzzing up-and-comers who rounded out the original “Family Matters” tour when it traveled the country last year. In their place was a single opener from Atlanta by the name of Kelechi, who did a respectable job given the fact that few there knew who he was. Still, it wasn’t exactly D.R.A.M. making everyone lose their shit to a performance of “Cha Cha” or Young Metro wiling out to the opening of Drake and Future’s “Big Rings.”
Raleigh fans would recoup those losses, and then some.
In the months between the scrapped November date and Chance's concert Tuesday night, a little album called The Life Of Pablo debuted at Madison Square Garden, by a guy named Kanye West. A soaring, soulful song called “Ultralight Beam” opened that album; a single, emotional verse stole the song, maybe the album.
And so it was that, with a crowd in front of him chanting “ULTRA! LIGHT! BEAM! ULTRA! LIGHT! BEAM!" Chance turned to his band, spoke with them briefly, then turned back around and made Raleigh the first city in the world to get a live, non-television performance of his verse on “Ultralight Beam."
Indeed, features would turn out be a major part of Chance’s show, as the man only has so many songs. Chance has released just two projects in the last four years, after all, the first of which is an offering straight out of high-school detention. Despite the dearth of albums, Chance’s star has only grown, largely off of his constantly growing collection of feature verses and collaborations. He talked frequently during the show but sparingly during the features set, steamrolling through contributions to songs by Action Bronson (“Baby Blue”), Macklemore (“Need To Know”), Kehlani (“The Way”), BJ The Chicago Kid (“Church”), and Towkio (“Heaven Only Knows”), hardly a breath in between.
In front of a mesmerizing backdrop of glowing beams of light and the backing of musical cohorts The Social Experiment, Chance danced around the wide-open stage with his usual mirth and beneath his trademark Chicago White Sox hat. He satiated die-hard fans with cut after cut from his 2013 breakout, Acid Rap, using live instrumentation to make many of the songs completely different from their studio-recorded originals—a fresh, concert-only edition anchored by familiar lyrics.
Chance also performed his newest song, “Angels,” a track with a steel drum-infused sound and a serious message: “Got too many angels on the Southside, got us scared to let our grandmas go outside.”
It was odd to hear so little of Surf, the stellar project released last year by Donnie Trumpet & The Social Experiment, of which Chance is a part. But after more than an hour, the album finally made an appearance. Performer and fan alike seemed to know how the night would inevitably conclude, but Chance asked the fans what they wanted, anyway: “SUNDAY CANDY!” they shouted back, as if on cue.
And so Chance closed out the night, and certifiably brought down the house, with a song about his grandma. It was, truthfully, the only way to end one of the most positive, fun, and uplifting rap shows going.