After an episode of self-described “major label bullshit” supposedly sidelined Shlohmo and Jeremih‘s highly touted collaborative project, it appears that the former’s Wedidit camp has taken to grassroots methods to disseminate the No More EP. The six track effort features “Bo Peep”, “No More”, an extended, Jeremih-assisted version of Shlohmo’s “Fuck You All The Time” remix that jumpstarted the whole project, and two brand new originals. The original project was slated for a Def Jam/Wedidit release, but while nothing final has been announced all logic points to a formal end to that relationship. While the circumstances surrounding No More are more than a little acerbic, the EP offers an intoxicating blend of Jeremih’s knack for wispy melodic work and songsmanship combined with Shlohmo’s elegiac approach to 808 percussion and ululating textural accompaniments. Chance The Rapper guests on the sharp-witted “The End”, a venomous Chicago collaboration that falls somewhere among the hills of the drill realm. Head to the No More website to grab your copy of the EP in exchange for an email.
If you’ve ever attended a concert at Orange County’s The Observatory, you know that the suburban venue is not the ideal place to witness dance music. The three tiered floor, segmented by walls and steps leads to inconsistent crowd movement, awful vantage points and a disconnect between performer and crowd. I knew all of this as I entered the Santa Ana venue on Monday night (November 18), but pushed it to the back of my mind as I primed myself for a night that would feature buzzing rapper Chance (The Rapper) and footwork pioneers DJ Rashad and DJ Spinn. Dubbed the “Social Experiment” tour, the three performers (plus Chance’s three man band) had been on the road since October 25 and had played 17 shows in only 24 days. With all of the performers hailing from Chicago, the night promised an air of cohesion that few touring acts can fulfill.
At first glance, the selection of DJs Rashad and Spinn as openers might be confusing, but the decision makes all too much sense when you consider that Chance has evoked his reverence for Chicago’s juke/footwork scene on multiple occasions in the past. Rashad and Spinn’s lightning fast, syncopated rhythms might come off as at odds with Chance’s gospel-infused hip hop, but one only has to examine the Windy City’s long history of dance music with hip hop leanings and vice versa. The crowd at The Observatory might not have been ready for the 160 beats per minute flurry that Rashad and Spinn would throw at them, but Chance knew what he was getting into when he brought the two artists along with him.
After wading our way through The Observatory’s outsized parking lot, we made our way into the venue and took our place among the hordes of Chance fans chomping at the bit to shower their hero with love and reverence. Overwhelmingly Caucasian and college aged, the crowd was, by and large, dressed in the Southern California norm of street wear brands, 5 panel hats and lots and lots of camouflage. Chance came on promptly after we arrived, joined on stage by a drummer, keyboardist and trumpet player. Over the next hour, Chance would lead the crowd through most of his recent Acid Rap tape in an expansive performance that straddled the line between hip hop show and performance art.
Hit the jump to read the full recap…
Since arriving last Tuesday, Chance The Rapper’s Acid Rap tape has dominated the hip hop conversation, drawing almost universal praise from both critics and fans. Drawing from Chicago’s rich musical history and capitalizing on hip hop’s current predilection for left field flow/cadence(s), Acid Rap is easily one of the most impressive “mixtapes” of the year and will probably be the start of an extended debut album hype tour. “Paranoia” was originally a secret track at the end of “Pusha Man”, but has now been liberated as a solo track via another excellent “Songs From Scratch” collaboration from Yours Truly. With Nosaj Thing behind the boards, “Paranoia” is about Chicago’s gun violence, but that’s a simplification. “Paranoia” is about the ability (or lack there of) to live out a proper childhood. It’s about the disparity between media coverage of black on black versus black on white or white on white violence. It’s about escapism and youthful abandon. It’s about the basic fear of living in a neglected, destitute environment. Nosaj Thing’s floating, California sunset-esque production seems like an odd selection at first, but the spaced out soul makes all too much sense as the beat progresses. It doesn’t happen often anymore, but when”conscious” rap transcends basic political facsimiles and expresses the essence of a situation, it is truly special. There is no download link for “Paranoia” yet, but expect one soon and download Acid Rap in the meantime.
I find it hard to believe that Chance The Rapper isn’t signed to a major yet, what with the snazzy media campaign for Acid Rap and the way music journalists have fawned over him in the past six months. Chance’s last tape, #10Day was more-or-less ignored by the majority of the music press (everyone except for Fake Shore Drive at least) until earlier this year when all of a sudden, poof, and he’s the next Kanye/Eminem/*insert tenuous comparison here*. Anyways, my point is that I have my suspicions and don’t be surprised if talk of an album on one of the majors comes out in the next month or two. I haven’t listened to Acid Rap yet (damn you internet speed), but this is one of those tapes that deserves to be disseminated pre-judgement. He is the like, the next Kanye after all.
Chicago MC Chance The Rapper has slipped his name into the national hip hop discussion in recent months as something of a counter-point to the hyper-violence of Chief Keef/King L/Lil Durk. Far from conscious in the traditional Talib Kweli sense, Chance comes from the same neighborhoods as the aforementioned MCs and even garnered a fan-base from Chicago’s high schools, but he channels his entirely into an entirely different subject matter set. Lil Wayne and Kendrick Lamar have been tossed around as influencers/comparisons, but just because Chance can write a damn good hook and spits in a number of cadences doesn’t mean he’s the aforementioned artists. “Acid Rain” is our first taste of the upcoming Acid Rap tape, set to drop in April, and features a mean orchestral backing from Seattle’s own Jake One. At 19, Chance comes off as incredibly mature on these tracks in the least stuffy way possible. That’s where the Kendrick comparison comes in actually. Chance manages to convey extremely heavy topics in an eloquent, yet easily digestible manner. If this has piqued your interest, check out the interview Chance did with Ruby Hornet and download his #10Day mixtape, which was recorded on a suspension from school for selling weed. Then stream and/or download “Acid Rain” below and mark out April on your calendar as the month the hip hop-verse becomes obsessed with Chance The Rapper.