It’s been 10 years since Chance the Rapper dropped his underground hit mixtape, Acid Rap and he chose the Fabulous Forum in Inglewood as one of three destinations to celebrate the anniversary Thursday, September 21.
The Chicago rapper had just turned 20 when Acid Rap made its way to free digital streaming platforms such as SoundCloud and DatPiff. The album served as a key piece of what was known as the “blog era” of music and built a cult following before the term “SoundCloud rapper” became a derogatory term.
Joined by fellow Chicagoan Vic Mensa, who was also celebrating the 10-year anniversary of his Innanetape, a sold-out Forum was treated to what can only be described as an aggressively 2013 night.
From the moment you parked your car, you could hear early Drake and Ty Dolla Sign hits blaring from the outdoor speakers. Upon entering the famous Inglewood arena, the DJ pumped out more music from the early 2010s, setting the tone for the night.
Chance seemingly blew most of his production budget on the opening song, “No Problem,” as he started singing the hook from backstage to build anticipation, before hitting the stage to confetti, streamers and continuous pyro.
He didn’t run straight through the Acid Rap tracklist, but Chance made sure he got to every song throughout the night.
While Chance performed with an abundance of energy, at 30 years old, he did not showcase the literal sprint across the stage that became a staple during his 2016 Coloring Book Tour and made crowds go crazy at festivals such as Coachella and Life is Beautiful. Instead, he got the crowd going with an apparent vendetta against his microphone stands, burning through at least five, and oddly breaking each one in different ways, with a crescendo that led to the last mic stand which he snapped in half over his knee with total disregard for his ACL.
Backing him up instrumentally was his best friend Nico Segal, who helped create the signature trumpet-heavy sound that has become synonymous with Chance. As a whole, the Social Experiment band is made up of Chance’s closest friends, who have toured with him his whole career.
It looked like Chance was having fun with music again. He was once considered the future of hip-hop, earning high praise from artists such as Common, Lil Wayne and a not-yet-completely-unhinged Kanye West. The rocket that was strapped to his back blew up mid-flight in 2019, as his official debut album The Big Day, was met with mixed reviews and became subjected to fairly harsh memes that made fun of how much he rapped about loving his wife.
Chance did not play a single song from The Big Day for the Kia Forum crowd, instead filling the setlist with covers of Lauryn Hill’s “Doo Wop,” Tupac’s “Keep Ya Head Up,” and an unexpected gospel-style cover of the Arthur theme song. Yes, THAT Arthur. The anxiety-ridden cartoon aardvark from your childhood, whose theme song was famously performed by Ziggy Marley. You would have to be a deeply involved fan to remember Marley, Chance and Jon Batiste jokingly performing the theme on a 2017 episode of the Late Show with Stephen Colbert.
The highest points of the night came when Chance performed fan favorites from the Acid Rap album, such as “Cocoa Butter Kisses,” “Paranoia,” and “Juice.” Chance also performed his verse from Kanye’s Grammy-nominated record, “Ultralight Beam,” which was a treat considering the rocky relationship between the two artists, who have not been seen together publicly since a 2021 viral video of Kanye scolding Chance before the infamous Donda album listening party in Chicago.
A couple of notable special guests made appearances, with Los Angeles native Ab-Soul performing his verse from “Smoke Again,” and Sampha joined to sing the hook on “Angels.”
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While the Forum might not have the same mystique as it did in the 80s and 90s when the Lakers made their championship runs, throughout the night, Chance explained that selling out the Forum meant a great deal to him. At one point, he asked for a spotlight to be lit in the very back of the top section of the arena and you could see the disbelief in Chance’s eyes that every single seat was filled.
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The three Acid Rap 10-year anniversary concerts in Los Angeles, Chicago and New York could serve as a launch pad for Chance. He revealed to the L.A. crowd that an album was forthcoming before performing a song off the album called, The Highs & The Lows, featuring Joey Bada$$.
The concert showed that there was still a demand for Chance and his music. If the coming album is received well, maybe it will get its own anniversary show someday. If not, there’s always the 20-year Acid Rap anniversary to look forward to.
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