By Dominic Arenas Jr.
Following a memorable performance on daytime television, Chance the Rapper took his talents to late night. He appeared on “The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon” on Oct. 3. Along with Anthony Hamilton, Ty Dolla Sign, Raury and D.R.A.M., the Chicago native performed “Blessings (Reprise)” from his critically-acclaimed mixtape, Coloring Book.
By now, mainstream media has caught up with hiphop heads and latched onto Chance the Rapper. Most already laud his commitment to be an independent artist in an economically-driven industry. However, his live performances on the ESPYS, “The Ellen Show” and now “The Tonight Show” should approach the conversation of Chance from a different perspective.
Kanye West dubbed Chance the future of music in his last public rant at the VMAs. Now, the future of music is a big identity to assume. Prior to delving into that debate, watch Chance’s latest appearance on Fallon. Chance assembled an R&B supergroup equivalent to The Avengers in comics or the Golden State Warriors in sports. Along with four fellow singers and rappers, Chance accompanied the performance with a gospel choir and The Social Experiment, a band Chance has collaborated with in the past.
This is what makes the performance so uplifting and amazing. Every variable of the performance, from Chance to any of the gospel choir members, played an integral role. “The Tonight Show” even paired the immaculate performance with heavenly lighting. It seemed as if Chance emitted an ultralight beam, pun intended. As Chance continued to spew his ingenious lyrics on “Blessings (Reprise),” his fellow R&B singers and rappers contributed adlibs that acted as “amens” to Chance’s prophetic journey.
Like past performances, Chance gives every bit of his body to creating an unforgettable live experience. By the end of “Blessings (Reprise),” the audience clapped (off-beat) with the choirs that lined the aisles. “The Tonight Show” captured the moment as a modern day Moses on Mt. Sinai. Chance has come from passing out mixtapes to classmates to passing out pieces to mainstream audiences.
Although Chance may promote himself as an independent artist, his music is far from that. This makes for better music. Artists like Kanye, Lil Wayne, 2 Chainz, Justin Bieber, Future, Kirk Franklin and other big players in music want to be on Chance’s projects. Why? As West correctly stated, he is the future of music. And much like his mentor and fellow Chicago native, he follows in wearing various hats. Although his name may be misleading, Chance the Rapper is an artist, rapper, producer, brand ambassador, political activist, community leader and now, Kit-Kat jingler.
Part of the reason mainstream audiences and media have gravitated toward Chance is his commitment to authenticity. Yes, one should recognize his prominence as an independent artist. However, one must first delve into the progression of Chance the Rapper: his evolution from solely a rapper to a truly multi-faceted artist.