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Chance the Rapper brings political activism to Queens concert


On Sept. 26 and 27, Chance the Rapper joined the list of legends who have performed at the Forest Hills Tennis Stadium.

The doors opened at 7 p.m., and people who had been lined up for hours in order to be 10 feet away from their favorite artist took off like horses at a race. The rest of the stadium slowly filled up as Francis and the Lights and DJ Oreo warmed up the crowd.

By the time Chance performed, every sold-out seat was filled with screaming fans, except for the poor, unfortunate souls who had passed out due to the heat and the close quarters in the general admission section.

Chance playfully teased his fans by coming out during Francis and the Lights’ set, not to sing, but to perform a choreographed dance with his opener. He immediately won the crowd over with his goofy smile.

“Mixtape” began to play as darkness and smoke filled the arena. Chance rode across the stage on what looked like a children’s bike and began to sing his hit song.

The first note Chance sang was matched with fire and fireworks. His energy rivaled the excitement of the audience. He seamlessly used the sound of Donnie Trumpet to blend into “Blessings,” “Angels” and then “Juke Jam.”

Although Justin Bieber did not join Chance on stage for his feature in “Juke Jam,” the Social Experiment joined Chance for “Sunday Candy” and the rest of the concert.

“I’m sorry to those of you who came last night but tonight is so much more cracking, I don’t mean to offend you if your grandma was here yesterday, but your grandma didn’t jump up and down yesterday,” Chance joked with the audience before singing “I’m singing too, but your grandma ain’t my grandma.”

Halfway through the concert, Chance slowed things down a bit and performed a new song with no title, even forgetting the words on stage and starting again. That is how new the song is.

“No more knee slappin’ or shoe shinin’ or shoe signin’ ‘til the dream happens, I’m just gon’ keep rappin’, and y’all just keep clappin’ and keep actin’ like Flint got clean water and y’all don’t got teen daughters and black friends and gay cousins, y’all just gon’ say nothin,’” Chance sang in a melancholy voice as thousands of lighters and flashlights lit up the arena.

Fans were excited that this was the first concert he ever perfomed this song.

Beside his charismatic personality and revolutionary music, Chance is known for his political activism and publicly speaking out about corrupt record labels, world problems and issues in Chicago.

During his song “No Problem,” Chance sings, “… if one more label tries to stop me,” and then continues by singing, “you don’t want no problem with me.” This song is a direct smack in the face to label heads as Chance proudly stands successfully on stage remaining an independent artist.

The hook blared in the background as the word “phony” written in the Sony font appeared on the screen behind him.

To solidify his point about being strong and independent, this song won the Best Rap Performance at the 2017 Grammy Awards, while Chance also won Best New Artist and his most recent solo mixtape, Coloring Book, won Best Rap Album.

Chance’s awards are a reflection of his contributions and influence on popular music. He is technically classified as a Christian rapper, which is evident when you really pay attention to his lyrics.

Chance’s whimsical influence can be heard on the tracks of up and coming acts like D.R.A.M., Lil Yachty and even some of Lil Uzi Vert’s singles.

Chance takes a lighter, more melodic approach to his work, clearly influenced by his hero Kanye West, and even reminiscent of rapper Drake. This new wave of rap music is interestingly palatable, melodic and mainstream-radio friendly.

The only negative takeaway from the show is that Chance was supposed to begin at 8:15 p.m. but did not start playing until after 9 p.m. He then only performed for 75 minutes.

At previous festival appearances like The Meadows and Governor’s Ball, he was known to perform longer sets and include more of a variety of songs.

During this concert, he played almost every song from Coloring Book, three songs from Acid Rap and then performed an ode to Kanye in a three-song medley.

While entertaining, fans expected more diversity among his song selection, and definitely a longer set.

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