By Walt McGinnis
In front of a sold-out crowd of nearly 17,000 on Sunday evening, Atlanta’s Lakewood Amphitheatre was transformed into the Church of Chance. Chicago-based Chance the Rapper took his time to soulfully explore the line between backpack rap and traditional gospel crooning throughout his 1.5 hour long show. Following a thundering opening performance of “Mixtape,” Chance wasted no time launching into back-to-back hits “Blessings” and “Angles,” both taken from the artist’s most recent album, Coloring Book.
Sonically backed by The Social Experiment’s Donnie Trumpet and Peter Cottontale, Chance went on to pay respect to hip hop and production icon, Kayne West. West’s influence on the younger rapper went unhidden during his rapid-fire performances of “Waves,” “Father Stretch My hands Pt. 1,” and finally a heart-wrenching rendition of “Ultralight Beam,” all borrowed from West’s 2016 The Life of Pablo.
During one of the 24-year-old artist’s several conversations with the feverish audience, he fondly revisited his experiences playing at smaller venues in Atlanta. Recalling his previous shows at the Fabulous Fox Theater, Tabernacle, and Center Stage, Chance couldn’t be held back from excitement to play in front of such a packed and sprawling venue.
After a quick shout-out to the fans of his 2013 mixtape, Acid Rap, the crowd was treated to a throwback performance of The Social Experiment’s “Sunday Candy.” The young star remained in the past for the next few performances which included a passionate recital of “Lost,” followed by the Acid Rap’s smash hits “Favorite Song” and “Cocoa Butter Kisses.”
With Acid Rap’s free-streaming and independently-produced collection of songs fresh in mind, Chance doubled-down on his anti-record label convictions with a booming performance of “No Problems.” To make sure nothing was lost in translation, the digital backdrop displayed parody logos that mocked the big record labels of today; Sony/Phony, Universal/Undiversal, etc.
Not to let his sense of humor overshadow the heavily contemplative and often dreamy nature of his performance, Chance opted to close out the show several songs later with 2 final tracks from Coloring Book: “Same Drugs,” followed by a reprise of his opening song, “Blessings.”
Chance the Rapper is at a unique point in his career: secure in his craft, he’s proven that he has the chops to blend musical genres. Sundays electric and uplifting performance further displayed that he cannot be put into a musical box. His trajectory is pointed at the moon, and there may not be a big enough amphitheater in Atlanta to hold the crowd he will deservingly draw in his next visit.
Waves / Father Stretch My Hands / Ultralight Beam
(Kanye West cover)
(Donnie Trumpet & The Social Experiment cover)
D.R.A.M. Sings Special
I’m the One
(DJ Khaled cover)
Cocoa Butter Kisses
All We Got
Finish Line / Drown