August 3, 2013


Chance the Rapper at Lollapalooza: So Crowded Someone Climbed a Lamp Post

Ariel LeBeau for Fuse
Ariel LeBeau for Fuse

Festivalgoers stood shoulder-to-shoulder spilling out of the BMI stage area waiting for Chance the Rapper to make his hometown festival debut at Lollapalooza 2013. His hypeman/DJ kept the impatient crowd entertained with Kanye West's "Bound 2," Macklemore's "Thrift Shop" and A$AP Rocky's "F-ckin Problems." Fifteen minutes after his scheduled start time, there was the guy everyone came to see: "My name is Chance the Rapper and I'm from right here, Chicago, Illinois."

Since the release of his debut mixtape 10 Day in 2012 and his 2013 follow-up Acid Rap, Chance the Rapper has been on everyone's list. Chance (also known as Chancelor Bennett) made XXL's 2013 Freshman Class Nominees list and was highlighted as one of Complex's "10 New Chicago Rappers to Watch Out For." The 20-year-old got heavy hitters Twista, Action Bronson and Childish Gambino to guest on Acid Rap, and he's going on tour with Macklemore, Mac Miller and Eminem later this year. (All of this is why we named him one of the acts you have to see this year at Lolla.)

That's a whole lot of hype, which seemed to be the defining trend of Chance's Lolla set. Die-hard fans and fair-weather followers alike know the "So Good" rapper is one giant hit away from blowing the hell up—everyone wanted to see his set so they can say they knew him when. Chance's stage was the place to be—it was so crowded that one fan climbed a very flimsy tree (that was definitely not meant to be climbed) to get a better look. Another climbed a lamp post. A lamp post. Do you know how high those things are?

"Juice" was the standout hit among the crowd, probably because the video has nearly 1.5 million hits on YouTube. And it's just really fun to sing along to "I got the juice, I got the juice" out loud in the middle of Grant Park. "Everybody's Something" also prompted a lot of "Oh sh-t, this is my song" replies from the crowd—Chance just dropped the video a few days ago, and it's already passed the quarter-million mark. Though the crowd wasn't  as familiar with his other tracks (the ones that don't have videos), it didn't matter to Chance. "Let's turn this sh-t into a party!" he demanded. The crowd obliged. (Translation: I saw two people throw up.)

At the end of his 30 minutes, Chance thanked his hometown for showing the love: "Yo, Chicago, y'all were awesome." It was a heartfelt sentiment but it felt a bit terse. Maybe he just had to get going to his next gig. Or magazine spread. Or continue practicing being the next big thing.

Check out all the best photos from day 1 of Lollapalooza: