Chance the Rapper
Chance The Rapper just released a new song called “No Better Blues” on his SoundCloud page. For the Kid Cudi lovers out there (I’m shouting myself out right now), this might resonate with you. It’s a heavy emotional song that tells a story about the blues, and the feeling that can come with a form of depression where you hate everything – the ordinary things, the good things, the bad things, the comfortable and uncomfortable things. There isn’t joy to be found.
I imagine there are people out there who don’t appreciate hip hop music who will press play and say they hate this song. They hate that rappers don’t have any musical talent and that they can just speak over music that they often don’t make. They could go on and on about what they hate, just as Chance has in this song. But what I’d urge them to do is go beyond the sound that they may or may not like about hip hop music and think about the storytelling that goes into this. Chance is telling a story about the blues at exactly the right time. Just over a month ago, the world was mourning the passing of Robin Williams and depression and the demons that come with it were being talked about on the news. Today, it’s a thing of the past, and we’ve moved on to the more current news. We mustn’t forget the true battle so many face with a darkness so overwhelming one can feel they hate every single thing in life — their bed, their home, their family, the sun, the rain, the clouds, the war, the charities. It’s all covered in darkness.
But there are two lines in particular in this song by Chance that stand out to me. One is repeated throughout the song as Chance sings and raps “it don’t get no better,” and one is more subtle when he says “I hate to hate.” This isn’t something people choose to feel. But unfortunately, it’s not something there’s an easy cure for either. It’s an important matter that needs to stay in the foreground, and I commend Chance for bringing it back into the conversation, so long as people can see the true meaning of the song as I’ve interpreted it.
Is Chance himself actually feeling this way? Who knows. Maybe not…after all, he talks about things in here that he doesn’t have (a twin, for example). But that’s the beauty of art: it can tell stories about meaningful topics that don’t always have to represent the 1st person’s true life. The power is the story behind it. And Chance has told an incredibly powerful story in a song that many may brush off as something they hate. But take a deeper look, and you just may see the importance of it after all.
Every year for what’s now been 10 years running, Lollapalooza has invaded the grounds of Grant Park in Chicago, IL and grips the city in an awesome and unavoidable way. In the week leading up to the festival, you can feel the metro area swelling up, as if to prepare for the oncoming chaos. And regardless of what you thought of this year’s lineup (meh), Lolla is always a party full of spectacular moments.
This year’s fest was no exception to this rule. It’s a tall task to sum up 72-hours of music, mud, and general mayhem in just 7 small yet encapsulating moments, but I did my best for everybody’s fleeting attention spans.
Here are The 7 Sweetest Moments from Lollapalooza 2014 below.
7. Portugal. The Man Covering It’s Always Sunny’s “Dayman”
Covers can be cheesy and predictable. Sure, we’ve all heard the indie band who does a rendition of an old Snoop Dog song or something and people go nuts over it. But, what about when a band dramatically covers a song from It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia? Awesome.
6. Toothless Gosling and Prison Mike Sinage
Festival signage usually falls within the realm of inside joke or completely and randomly awesome. These are both examples of the later.
5. Andre 3000 Bringing Girls On Stage To Shake It Like A Polaroid Picture
It’s impossible to not dance when “Hey Ya” comes on. It’s perfect. To prove this point, Andre 3000 brought some Beyonce’s and Lucy Lu’s on stage to get down to his now classic hit. I’m not complaining.
4. Grouplove Covering Beastie Boys’s “Sabotage”
Sooo, remember that thing I said about indie bands covering hip-hop songs earlier? Yeah, still awesome.
3. Malia Obama Snapping Photos With Concertgoers Like It’s No Big Deal
J chillin with Malia Obama✌️ pic.twitter.com/IuM0A88g9B
— Sarah (@cleaaaaver) August 4, 2014
The First Lady was recently spotted with her daughters at the Chicago stop of the “On The Run” tour just the other week. These gals have a pretty good taste in music, I’d say.
2. Rihanna Joining Eminem for a Rendition of “Stan”
With Em and Ri kicking off a tour in Detroit soon, many expected the duo to share the stage at some point during the legendary emcee’s Lolla set. Well, it happened and it was especially awesome that she stuck around for “Stan.”
1. Chance Bringing Out R. Kelly for “Ignition (Remix)”
Chance’s set was something of a momentous event. A hometown kid headlining Perry’s stage with a crowd that arguably rivaled next door neighbor headliners Kings of Leon and Skrillex. And then Chano brought out another Chicago legend just to put icing on the cake. Nailed it.
Lollapalooza is fast approaching this weekend with main-stage legends coming by way of Eminem, OutKast and Kings of Leon. The annual Chicago music festival held against the city’s skyline is hip-hop top heavy this year, and it make sense when you think about the town’s emerging rap scene. It’s hard to say who’s the bigger or more exciting bill between Em and OutKast, but I may have to give the nod to Slim Shady since Big Boi and Andre 3000 are hitting virtually every U.S. city this summer. So, who else do you have to catch that won’t be playing at the Bud Light or Samsung Galaxy stages?
If you find yourself in the Windy City this weekend, make sure to check out these other great non-headlining sets.
7. Iggy Azalea
Iggy’s breakout summer jam “Fancy” has dominated charts all season. Though she’s a rising name in hip-hop, you already know this crowd is going to be filled with chicks getting white girl wasted. Bring it on.
Haunting, bouncy, and beautiful all at the same time, Phantogram blends sample-based electronic music with lead singer Sarah Barthel’s tragically smooth vocals. Expect a super cool light show too.
5. Foster The People
You probably remember Foster The People destroying radio waves a few summers ago with “Pumped Up Kicks.” Well, their new song “Best Friends” is pretty addicting too. This will be sure to be an awesomely bouncy set.
This Queensbridge-native is a certified living legend, and he’s been performing his classic Illmatic in full all summer to celebrate its 20th anniversary. You don’t want to miss this kind of momentous show.
Flume breeds a kind of electronic music that is quite unlike anybody else. Both brooding and infectious, the Australian-born producer will be sure to deliver a rave for the ages.
Chromeo sets are guaranteed to be funky, fresh, and fun. Expect lots of high-flying guitar and super-soaked synths that sound like they’re blaring straight from the 80s.
1. Chance The Rapper
Hometown hero Chance The Rapper was grossly under-staged last year at Lolla, but this year he’ll be closing down Perry’s stage. With a flurry of syllabic rhymes and an addictive turn-down-for-what energy, don’t be surprised if this MC’s crowd rivals Skrillex or Kings of Leon playing nearby.
You might remember Saba as the guy who was not Chance the Rapper but kind of sounded like Chance the Rapper on the closing verse of “Everybody’s Something” from Chance’s Acid Rap mixtape. The young MC is a member of westside Chicago’s music collective Pivot Gang and has at least two great tracks to his name.
Now, I’ll be honest. I am in India right now on vacation. I had made the mental decision before coming to India that I would not post any music at all and would just enjoy this time with my grandparents. It says something about “Burnout” that it could move me to write this post. There’s something about this song… man. It feels like a moment. Like when we first heard “Family” by Chano back in 2012. You get a sense that this is a young rapper with so much confidence and control over his craft. He is not insecure, trying to do unnecessary lyrical backflips with metaphors that aren’t working. Instead, he has a matured musicality and understands how to pick his moments within a song. He offers both the wide-eyed wonder of a hip-hop enthusiast and the sharpshooting precision of a veteran lyricist.
Check out the first single from Saba’s upcoming mixtape Comfort Zone (“Burnout” is the second single).
It’s no secret that we’re completely obsessed with Chance The Rapper here at Sunset. His phenomenal sophomore mixtape, Acid Rap, came out a year ago today, and most of us still listen to it religiously. At the time, we even spent 30 minutes of our not-so-valuable time blabbering in front of our laptops about how amazing we thought it was. Then we named it our second favorite album of the year (even though it technically wasn’t even an album).
So yeah, we’re fans.
Anyway, on Monday Chance posted a tweet about a new song that had been recently uploaded to Soundcloud. Blinded by the excitement of a new Chance The Rapper track, most people (including myself) clicked the link without carefully reading the full tweet. We were greeted by a breezy summer-ready song that would have fit in very nicely on Acid Rap — except Chance sounded a little different than usual. His singing voice was a little lower and his flow had changed. Personally, I kind of enjoyed the changes. Judging by the Soundcloud comments that said things like, “great new song, Chance!” I wasn’t the only one.
Then I looked up and saw that the song had been uploaded to an account called, “Taylor Bennett Tunes”. Whoa! Chance’s little brother! I had checked out some of his songs around a year ago — and they were good — but this was on a whole other level. Of course, the biggest knock on Taylor will be that he sounds very similar to Chance, but this is a promising step toward individual success. He has our attention to say the least. Taylor’s technical skills and ability to craft a thoroughly enjoyable song are obviously already there. With time, he’ll likely develop his own style and the Bennett’s will take over the world.
I mean, they’re already on a first-name-basis with the Obamas (thanks to their father’s Chicago political connections). In the meantime, enjoy the new King Louie-assisted song below. Then soak in a legendary photo of the Bennett’s with Barack Obama in the White House and stream another single, “Ballin” from Bennett’s upcoming Mainstream Music mixtape, out May 4.
With the first weekend of Coachella just days away, it’s no secret that the must-see performance of the festival is OutKast on Friday night. The dynamic duo is celebrating their 20th anniversary and haven’t hit the stage together in years. Muse and Arcade Fire will be sure to hold it down as the other two top bills on Saturday and Sunday, respectively, but what everybody else?
If you’re heading down to the desert this weekend, be sure to check out these other great non-headlining acts.
Sexy and sultry, Banks’ mysterious sound will remind you of a female version of the Weeknd. This alternative r&b songstress hails from L.A., so expect a hometown crowd cheering her on.
The young crooner from New Zealand absolutely took over the charts last year with her moody, yet pop-friendly hits. Although she’s only 17, she’s helmed the spotlight smoothly, playing on stages as big as the Grammy’s. Plus, her awkward, jerky dance movements are a sight to be seen.
5. Chance The Rapper
Hailing from Chicago, Chance has made big waves off a couple of mixtapes that have landed him features with the likes of Lil Wayne and Justin Bieber. But where the young MC really shines is under the stage lights. His raw energy and passion is contagious.
4. Calvin Harris
If you’ve been out to any bar, venue, stadium or outing in the past couple of years, chances are you’ve danced foolishly to a Calvin Harris jam. The Scottish DJ just knows how to make a crowd move, and the Sahara Tent will be no exception.
Beck is a true living legend. Making his rounds in the 90s, Beck infused hip-hop, soul, funk and rock with seamless ease. Don’t miss out on an opportunity to see a this veteran, American musician in sunny California.
Love him or hate him, Skrillex knows how to throw a party. The energy he brings to his shows is infectious and his drops will definitely melt your face off. Be ready to rage if you’re going to catch this set on Saturday.
1. Pharell Williams
Skateboard P has been sculpting pop’s landscape for the past couple of decades, but this past year has been his best yet. His slot at Coachella should be a surefire party of number one hits. Don’t be shocked if he brings a surprise or two on stage with him either. The guy has probably worked with half of the festival’s lineup, after all.
Chance The Rapper released a new track on SoundCloud called “Save Yourself First.” Chance told the world that this was the first collaboration he did with James Blake before they released the “Life Round Here” remix last September. Chance wrote on the SoundCloud track that “James never liked this verse,” so the song was scrapped entirely. Today’s release features faint clippings of James Blake’s vocals from “Life Round Here,” but Chance is calling this the Social Experiment version. Whatever it is, I think it’s beautiful. So. Damn. Delicate.
light aint been round here in a minute, darkness been swallowed it up
It is really really really difficult to believe in love when you have not experienced it, yet it is so engrained in culture that it is instilled in even the most adamant nonbelievers. I set out to make out a mixtape that is as grimy and slimy (sorry for rhyming) as the ZHU smash “Superfriends” and somehow came out with this grand statement on love. I think the context of this love still comes from like a night out, “we found love in a hopeless place”-type scenario, so that is cool and interesting. Other than that, it is just a mix of 24 songs ranging from Mar‘s gorgeous “Ode to Her” (which makes the lyric “If I was born a girl, I would be just like you babe” endearing and not weird) to the addictive and danceable “Coast Is Clear” by the odd couple of Skrillex and Chance The Rapper.
In the middle of all the craziness surrounding the bizarre (but brilliant) collaboration between Skrillex and Chance The Rapper earlier tonight, Chance posted a subtle tweet:
— Chance The Rapper (@chancetherapper) March 11, 2014
Um, what? A remix of one of the biggest surprise blog hits of 2013 (“Don’t Wait”) by everyone’s favorite newcomer (Chano)? Yes, please. Over Magnus Lidehall’s excellent production, Chance drops a deceptively complex verse based on a strained long-distance relationship that takes detours to sprinkle in biblical metaphors and a Chicago violence reference — all while mixing melody and rhyme as well as he ever did on Acid Rap. Basically, my anticipation for his next solo project is reaching unhealthy levels. I even caught myself humming the Bieber part of “Confident” the other day. It’s getting bad, you guys. Anyway, follow my lead and replay this short remix over and over while you wait.
Chuck Inglish & Chance? The Rapper? link up for a dope, rock sounding, collaboration that will appear on Chuck’s Convertibles album that is dropping in the not so distant future. The blues feel that comes with the song is nothing short of excellent. I’m not the biggest Chuck fan, but kudos to him and Chance for creating “Glam” as it’s worthy of a listen, or two, or three, or forty.
I don’t really have much to say about this video because every time I try to watch it I get distracted (read: disgusted) by Justin Bieber’s attempt at a mustache (read: overgrown peach fuzz) and his attire (read: a ladies’ t-shirt, cardigan and necklace), all of which just leaves me asking “but why?”