The young man who’s quickly become the most promising hip-hop act in his age bracket found himself leaning over another precocious ledge at Governors Ball. He’s beginning to leap, with the confidence and humanity of his ever-morphing delivery, into a true presence in the music world. Somehow the buzz from Acid Rap, which is over a year old, has yet to vanish, and if any of it has died, it has only done so in a way that has birthed a more visibly time-tested affection for the Save Money renaissance man. Just as his voice so curiously toddles around beats in a manner both childlike and romantic, his place on the radars and in the hearts of music fans is retaining its freshness while only growing stronger in a way that promises more years of synergy. It’s less puppy love, more full-grown.
The feeling appeared mutual as Chance weaved onto the stage to the sound of “Everybody’s Something,” a giving, rather than grabbing, selection, as opposed to the ear-catching and party-starting “Good Ass Intro” that kicked off most of his sets in the last year. Chance, supercharged by The Social Experiment, soared with legitimate emotion even in the first moments of his performance. The song felt, as was surely intended in its creation, like a love letter to all listening. The choice was a markedly mature one; a sentiment Chance would repeat and double as the show went on.
Chance’s repeat of the wonderful Arthur surprise from a week back was another gift of sentiment, as was his performance of the brilliant, as-of-yet unnamed track that he performed at Art Basel a while back. Somehow, it seemed that much of the crowd knew the hook to this unreleased gem, chanting with Chance before the song’s drop: “I believe if I fly, I’ll probably end up somewhere in paradise.” As a further testament to this show’s focus being the heart, Chance’s GovBall rendition of this gospel-tinged track featured far more emphatic and dramatic singing than can be heard in earlier recordings. Perhaps it’s because Chance truly had the choir that he hopes for in that song’s chorus. As billboard noted, Chance now has the kind of magnetic, dedication-inspiring pull that can amass a sizeable crowd for the act an hour and a half before him at a festival. (Deafheaven certainly saw the benefit, audience-wise, of Chance’s seemingly across-the-board appeal.)
Chance raised some heart rates in the show’s middle. “Smoke Again” and “Pusha Man” absolutely slapped when backed by the ever-sharpening Social Experiment and propelled forward by a crowd of stoned diehards. However, the emotion came to center stage again for the show’s final act: Chance paused briefly before “Paranoia” to speak, vague and troubled, about Chicago violence. Once the haunting, piercing track had closed, he “finished” the show with “Everything’s Good,” which was morphed, by the Social Experiment, into a tune lively enough for Chance to simultaneously juke and speed-rap to. The encore was a song made for encores if there ever was one: the sky-high “Chain Smoker.” Chance hit every high note and had the entire tent clapping along in amazement and gratitude. “This part, right here, right now, right here, this part my shit,” Chance screeched with glee, his excitement uncontrollably contagious. Chance The Rapper is very nearly Chance The Phenomenon, and if his live shows continue at this caliber, it will be quicker than the man can move his feet.