Chance the Rapper has been killing the stage all year, putting on jaw-dropping performances at festivals like Coachella and Lollapalooza. On Friday night the Chicago-bred rapper made a stop at Rutgers University in New Brunswick, NJ as a part of the Verge Campus Tour, and he certainly lived up to the hype, putting on an energetic 75-minute performance that captured not only the sold out crowd of college students, but the attention of every security guard and policemans as well.
Nashville songstress Kandace Springs kicked off the night, performing songs from her EP “Love Got In The Way,” as well as covers of Sam Smith’s “Stay With Me” and The Fugees’ “Killing Me Softly” so well that people in the audience mistook the singer for Ms. Lauryn herself. No really, they swore Kandace looked just like Lauryn, and it took minutes of explanation to help them realize they were mistaken. Somebody needed to brush up on their music history.
Next to hit the stage was Brooklyn-based producer Sweater Beats, who immediately started mixing some of the hottest songs of all time right there in front of the crowd, even throwing in a bit of Jersey club for the students. The music accompanied with the light effects and the song transitions were flawless. The man really has this beat thing on lock. The crowd was feeling it for a majority of the time, until students started chanting “We want Chance” near the end of his set.
But the crowd got their wish, and moments later Chance hit the stage with his band four-piece band The Social Experiment-keyboardist, violinist, drummer, and trumpet player-to open with “Everybody’s Something.” The beginning of his set consisted of staples from his acclaimed 2013 mixtape “Acid Rap” like “Pusha Man” and “NaNa,” before transitioning to songs from the “Social Experiment” project currently being promoted on Soundcloud, like his remake of the Arthur theme song “Wonderful Everyday” and “Home Studio (Back Up in this Bitch).” He even took it back to his very first mixtape “10 Day” with songs like “Brain Cells” and “Hey Ma.”
From pointing at everyone in the crowd and saying “I love you, I love you, I love you” during “That’s Love” to getting the crowd so hype during “Juice” he had to warn students in the balcony not to fall over the banister to performing hits like “Brain Cells,” “Smoke Again,” “Paradise,” “Cocoa Butter Kisses,” and “Pusha Man/Paranoia,” Chance kept the crowd engaged the entire time, and everyone knew every word to every song. Chance even threw Rutgers-themed Chance the rapper shirts in the crowd and douse the audience with water in true concert fashion.
The combination of Chance’s rhyming and singing with the band and the lighting arrangement made each song better than the one right before it, and any veteran concert goer knows this is the key to an amazing show. It was so good that at the end of the show students were chanting “One more,” prompting Chance to jump back on stage to do an encore with “Chain Smoker.”
To say the show was on point would be an understatement.