Not only was I surprised that Chance the Rapper was having a show in the city, but the fact that it sold out also had me totally surprised, because I didn’t know that he had such a strong fan base here (similar to how I reacted when I went to Logic’s show in 2012). The Chicago rapper blew up in what has seemingly been a matter of a few months. He had 10 Day under his belt, but a lot of people (including myself) didn’t start to take notice until her dropped Acid Rap earlier this year (check the review). I didn’t know what the demographic would be like at The Hoxton, and it was my first time at the venue, so only time could tell just how rowdy it would end up being. What I didn’t want to have happen was have a ton of openers kill my vibe like how it did the previous week when I went to see Mos Def – I could only hope at this point, but I was excited to see Chance, since Acid Rap has been on a steady repeat for the past few months, and Toronto catches on to the popular artists like no other when they first blow up, so I know it was going to be something.
One of the frequent performers that I’ve had not only the pleasure of seeing multiple times, but actually meeting, is The 6th Letter. The Baker’s Club has been doing their thing when it comes to releasing new music and growing their fan base bit by bit. It’d been a couple of months since I saw 6th perform, but as always, he has the crowd moving with his music. Usually, Raz Fresco joins 6th on stage during performances, but this time around he was accompanied by Brandon Chey, and I’d heard a couple of his songs through a friend of mine putting me on. He surprised me with his performance because he could really spit, and the crowd accepted his performance with warm embrace (that’s difficult to do in the city – ask anyone). Both 6th & Brandon have projects coming out soon, as they said, and I definitely can’t wait to hear them based on what they performed last night. They added jolts in energy even if their style isn’t the type to necessarily get hype to; they still did, and that’s all that mattered.
In Hip Hop, not enough respect goes out to the DJs these days, because they have a responsibility that’s essentially more important than the Emcee themselves, and that’s playing music. The DJs played a great assortment to keep the people moving and grooving – and the occasional turn up (I didn’t catch their names, but 2 of them were from Toronto, and then there was Chance’s DJ). The set up the perfect opportunity for Chance to take the stage and deliver the eccentric style that got him his already-large-and-still-growing fan base.
I’ll be the first to tell you that 10 Day was a mixtape that I didn’t like as a whole, but a few tracks stood out. One of his best songs as a rapper, in general, is Brain Cells, and he came out performing that just to determine who were ‘true’ fans (I mean, if you only have 2 mixtapes out, so that’s pretty difficult to determine). Nonetheless, Toronto didn’t disappoint in knowing the words to the song as a crowd of 400-500+ were belting out the lyrics along with him. It was the start of something special, and you could tell from his awe-inspired expressions, that he was overwhelmed to see so many fans for his first ever sold out international show (we’re known to be the Cherry poppers for new American artists).
He wasted no time and got right into performing tracks from Acid Rap, and I kid you not, the crowd knew every word, and there was not an ounce of boredom in sight. Chance’s energy alone on stage would literally make it impossible not to get hype because between his Juke stepping, Footwork (both Chicago things I’ve learned through the goodness of Twitter), and animation of his performance, he’s easily one of the best performers I’ve seen in my short concert-going-life. The crowd helped him sing through songs like Cocoa Butter Kisses, Everybody’s Something, and my personal favourite, Acid Rap. That was the calm portion, but at times when he wanted the crowd to go nuts, he performed Smoke Again, Favorite Song, Pusha Man, Fuck You Tahm Bout (from 10 Day). He even brought it back to Chicago and performed the first verse of Kanye West’s All Falls Down, which had the crowd in a bigger frenzy, then the inevitable Chief Keef was played and that’s all she wrote (check my Instagram
for more photos & videos).
Toronto crowds are hard to win over, but when you do, don’t expect to leave with a simple 2 minute ovation and then that’s it, no no no. After Chance left the stage the first time, his DJ was still on stage playing music, but the crowd wanted more of Chance. After about 10 minutes, he came back and performed Hey Ma (from 10 Day), and it was the final send off, but that didn’t go so well with the crowd who started chanting ‘One More Song’, ‘Encore’, and ‘We Want Chance.’ There were sprinkles of ‘Boos’, not because he was bad, but because they wanted more (I guess people wanted him to perform Acid Rap in full). I was satisfied of what I witnessed, because it brought me back to 2011 for Kendrick Lamar’s & Big K.R.I.T’s first shows in the city. They weren’t as packed as Chance’s (granted, Sound Academy & Opera House are not easy to fill up when you’re a newcomer not named Odd Future). Chance’s weird style is what deterred me the first time around, but the 2nd coming made me embrace him as an artist – he brought all of that out on stage and he shut down the stage leaving a mark that will live on for a while in the city. It’s too soon to tell just how big he can get as an artist (if he signs to a major label this year), but there’s definitely an aura around him that can lead him to greatness in the future. I’m glad that I was among many who witnessed something special happen. Until next time, another night, and another venue
That’s My Word & It STiXX