RANDALL'S ISLAND, New York -- There were no surprise cameos -- not from fellow fest performer Childish Gambino nor hometown rapper Action Bronson -- but Chance the Rapper didn't need them anyway. Backed by a live band, the Save Money MC electrified the crowd at this year's Governors Ball with a mid-afternoon set that elevated not only his year-old, critically acclaimed Acid Rap tape but also a throwback fave that had '90s babies legit losing it.
Chano seemed to register how much he was connecting too: He paused toward the end of his set, under the expansive Gotham Tent, to tell fans that "real talk," this festival was "the dopest sh--" he'd ever been a part of. Like a real-life rap superhero -- dressed in a White Sox jersey he peeled off to reveal a Superman tee -- the 21-year-old Chicago MC powered through 2013 mixtape standouts like "Juice" and "Cocoa Butter Kisses."
I guess if Chance had a special power, it would be reminding us that hip-hop hasn't merely been reduced to "the signal pop-music genre of its time," it's utterly essential. So he sang, spit and we wailed along. Especially when he trotted out a rendition of the feel-good theme to the animated series "Arthur," childhood classic for millenials everywhere.
But what really seemed to leave a lasting impression among festival-goers is that the 2014 XXL Freshman is already putting on a show that could rival some rap veterans. Even, dare someone say it -- Outkast??
The three-day Gov Ball wraps Sunday with anticipated sets from acts including James Blake, Swedish House Mafia alums Axwell & Ingrosso, J. Cole and headliners Vampire Weekend.