Chance the Rapper
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?”
Continuing his transition from blog buzz to legitimate mainstream success, Chance The Rapper made his late night television debut last night on The Arsenio Hall Show. He chose to perform Acid Rap highlight “Chain Smoker” with a live band in front of Arsenio’s studio audience. Well, he kinda performed it anyway. The television platform obviously didn’t allow for the song’s colorful language and by the end of the song he looked more excited to dance along to the backing vocal track than actually sing it himself. He got the job done, though. I’m sure a whole new group of people went to their laptops after the show and were introduced to the greatness that is Acid Rap.
The highlight of the appearance was Chance’s brief sit-down with Arsenio. Watch below as he discusses the violence in Chicago and specifically urges those at Grand Crossing Park to take it easy in the coming year.
I forgot to celebrate it the other day, but on December 7th (or maybe 8th, to be honest I can’t remember which), it marked 5 years that I’ve been working on Sunset in the Rearview. It started as something I wanted to do instead of writing a paper for one of my college classes. Its first name was “The Sound of Music,” until somebody I met and told about it let me know how unoriginal that name was. I knew it wasn’t original, but I didn’t have anything in mind to change it to. I can’t remember exactly why I named it Sunset in the Rearview, but I think subconsciously I modeled it after a book my dad wrote called Twilight in the Desert. It’s gone through a lot since then, as I have. Most notably, as it relates to the blog, I have written over 2,000 articles for the site and have met, spoken to, or supported probably over 1,000 artists. There have been talents I’ve found in early days who have blossomed into artists recognized by mainstream listeners, there have been those who have maintained an underground persona, and there have been some who have given up entirely. But I can say with confidence there is one artist who I have had my eye on for almost two years* who has shown a level of talent and progression beyond anybody else I have followed in the 5+ years I’ve been writing about music. Enter: Chance The Rapper. Hit the jump to read on. Continue reading “Chance The Rapper: His Music Before Acid Rap and The Road Ahead” »