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.
Only Chance the Rapper could stand on stage and sing The Arthur theme song and have the crowd turn up.
— ツ زكريا (@znowosadzki) June 7, 2014
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??
Haven't seen a crowd lose their minds like people just did for Chance the Rapper, and I JUST saw Oukast last night
— Jere Pilapil (@JerePila) June 7, 2014
Chance the rapper was dope.
— Simon Clarke (@simon_says_this) June 7, 2014
Chance the rapper live is crazy
— Rob Schanil (@TheRealR00K) June 7, 2014
Chance the rapper might be the best live performer I've seen
— Baby Smasher (@mikeyyRzz) June 7, 2014
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.