Yo we definitely have to talk about Chance the Rapper’s performance on SNL. Not only is he the first unsigned Hip Hop artist to play SNL, his performance was soulful, spirit filled and on point.
Chance performed songs not all too familiar to even his fans: “Somewhere in Paradise” and “Sunday Candy.” Both songs have positive messages that reflect upon Chance’s pleasure regarding his success and the loving memory of his grandmother. With a gospel choir backing him and his religious allusions and metaphors, Chance gives transparency into who he is as a Christian raised Black youth. That is a narrative that we don’t hear much of in Hip Hop but definitely is a story that many can relate to. I, personally, love that he is not afraid to be who he is and show that despite the over saturation of street and trap narratives in rap music. The fact that he is so positive in his introspection on his own mishaps. It’s refreshing.
Chance the Rapper
Most heads have heard about Chance. He set the game on fire in 2013 with his second mixtape, Acid Rap, and has since maintained his presence through the SoundCloud singles, music videos, music festival performances and even his own headlined nationwide tour. Most notable is the fact that most of his mixtapes and singles were free including the album he produced with Donnie Trumpet and the Social Experiment entitled Surf and the fact that he managed to do all of this without the support of a label.
It has been a conscious choice for Chance to remain unsigned is a reflection of his artistic independence philosophy. In an interview with Rolling Stone he stated:
It’s a dead industry. The whole point of Acid Rap was just to ask people a question: does the music business side of this dictate what type of project this is? If it’s all original music and it’s got this much emotion around it and it connects this way with this many people, is it a mixtape? What’s an album these days, anyways? ‘Cause I didn’t sell it, does that mean it’s not an official release? So I might not ever drop a for-sale project. Maybe I’ll just make my money touring
– Chance the Rapper
Besides the fact that Chance has got a flow and a musical ear reminiscent of those days when rappers didn’t just scream or whisper in monotone over a beat (think Will Smith, Queen Latifah and L.L. Cool J), the dude has a brain and is thinking about his own career and choosing paths least taken in order to make a place for himself int he industry that does not contradict who he is internally. Gotta give respect to that.
Chance the Rapper is one of the unsung Hip Hop must watch artists right now. He like J. Cole, Kendrick Lamar, King Los, Bas, Cyhi The Prynce among others are redefining the industry and evolving the music of the culture. It’s an exciting time for Hip Hop given that we’ve spent almost the last 5 years in some trap saturated, hook driven, dance promoted time loop where everything was beginning to sound the same. I look forward to seeing what he and his peers will bring to the future of Hip Hop and how that will broaden the narratives, sounds and expressions.
I’m not sayin; I’m just sayin,
An Angry Black Man