Chance the Rapper and the Social Experiment Get Jazzy at Their NYC Show
Chicago MC Chance the Rapper’s following grows by the minute. With a discography of only mixtapes and no major label affiliation (yet), Chano has managed to headline festivals and collab with some of hip-hop’s best.
The former XXL Freshman's shows, like the one last night at SOB’s, have a reputation for selling out fast. Born on the internet, the acid rapper’s fan base is vigilantly on the lookout via social media for his sporadic appearances. This show, which was only announced the morning before, was priced at $20 a ticket and sold out in about 45 minutes.
But last night’s impromptu show wasn’t just about Chance. It was about his band, the Social Experiment. Chance’s musicality shines through in his lyrical style of rap, so it makes sense that he’d be a part of a genre-blending band, with his best friends no less.
Even with little notice on a Wednesday, a packed house waited for Chatham’s own to rock out NYC. From the moment Chance, Donnie Trumpet and The Social Experiment hopped on stage in their SoX varsity jackets, the place exploded with energy.
The guys started off their set with some jazz-centric riffs before getting into a bumping version of “Home Studio (Back Up in This Bitch)” that highlighted Donnie Trumpet’s mind-boggling range. Knowing they had the crowd with them, SoX quickly mellowed out the vibe with their latest single, “Lady Friend.”
The hour-long show had no shortage of special guests. R&B star Elle Varner, whose vocals have been featured on “Wonderful Everyday: Arthur,” hopped on stage at one point for an adlib session, sharing the mic with Chance. Grammy-Award winning jazz pianist Robert Glasper also joined SoX on stage and held his own with a five-minute electric piano solo that had everyone, especially Donnie Trumpet, in awe.
Between Chance’s jerky moves, Donnie’s soulful trumpet solos and the reciprocated energy of Save Money’s steadfast, SoX commanded the crowd with ease. Going from high to low, the guys performed fan favorites “Paradise” and “No Better Blues” before ending the night with an onstage prayer and “Sunday Candy,” which Chance said was “dedicated to a very special woman.”
It’s admirable that the band’s undeniable star is really trying to put his whole team on as he rises. Though many in the mixed-crowd were clearly there for Chance, sporting Acid Rap apparel and calling for 10 Day throwbacks, the MC kept the emphasis on the collective the whole night. In an "I eat, we all eat" mentality, Chance had no problem taking a backseat, literally singing backup for some songs, as Donnie Trumpet whaled on center mic and spoke to the audience on the band’s behalf.
“This is a blessing to make music with your friends and have it as your job,” Donnie said towards the end of the show. “I appreciate New York for everything it's done for music is general. I appreciate you, New York. I appreciate you for reaching.”
Chance has previously described the band’s debut album, Surf as his main priority, but thanks to last night’s set, NYC has experienced the brotherhood behind SoX firsthand.