Chance the Rapper Brings Some Family Matters to Houston

Family Matters Tour feat. Chance the Rapper, D.R.A.M & The Social Experiment
Revention Music Center
November 12, 2015 

Every time you see Chance the Rapper, the skinny twentysomething Chicagoan with a creative spirit as big as a football stadium, you find something new to love about him. Before his last performance at Warehouse Live a couple of years ago, it was “Everybody’s Something," the Slum Village-sampling riff from Acid Rap that promptly displayed his nasally voice as one of change. When he appeared on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert late last month, he premiered "Angels" with Saba and people immediately gobbled it up. He's unafraid, he's a father to a new baby girl and seems centered with creating his next steps.

This go-round, it was taking in the fact that Chancellor Bennett leads a band. A band of funky, talented musicians who offered one of the summer’s best takes on light-hearted fun. The Social Experiment are the real winners of SURF, and Chance the Rapper is merely a vessel for them to carry their message. Thursday night’s Family Matters show at Revention Music Center brought forth big-budget ideas like a four-piece LED scene set up but it also kept it simple. Chance stood front and center, black T-shirt and black Chicago White Sox hat and let the crowd revel in its own greatness.

The sold-out crowd had already been lathered in the idea of having a good time via Atlanta-based producer Metro Boomin, who showed that even at 22, he has a firm command on how to work a crowd. He wasn’t sending off tweets of rancor at Young Thug (the two have since made up) but he was here to play lead up. Chance, he of Chicago fame and a keen sense of identity was to send the people home happy. Even D.R.A.M wasn’t focused on thinking anything outside of keeping the party going. “Cha Cha”, his breakout hit blared from the speakers and sent people jumping for the rafters in euphoria, the same space Chance got the people to break through once “Favorite Song” hit.

As up-front and dedicated towards crowd interaction Chance is, his deeper cuts got spliced in with favorable party records. “Paranoia”, a track about the violence in Chicago, somehow stuck after a medley where Chance riffed on breakups (“Baby Blue”), love (“The Way”) and lust (“Church”). There were no “Cocoa Butter Kisses” this evening, only Arthur theme lifts, a beckoning for the crowd to understand their importance and the general direction of having a good time. Combing through three mixtapes worth of material, from 10 Days to Acid Rap and this past summer’s SURF, Chance toyed with the fans from the first second of his 80-minute set. Literally. A “jump and you say how high” type of performer, Chance sweated and laughed and jammed, showing no effects of the fatigue or sickness that forced him to cancel previous dates in Raleigh and Charlotte, N.C.

What the Family Matters Tour was supposed to showcase was The Social Experiment, the Donnie Trumpet-led band that dominated SURF and also contributed to some of D.R.A.M.’s best work post-Only 1 DRAM. He swooned and glided with “Caretaker,” the SZA-featured track that’s a surefire “dirty mack” anthem. But instead, the tour displayed three key things.

One, D.R.A.M is a goddamn animal vocally and could probably take your girl salsa dancing with some popular cuisine afterward.

Two, Metro Boomin’ wants some more. And he’ll give you some more.

Three, Chance the Rapper has taken an Internet DIY approach and cultivated a fan base from nothing but free music. And all of it, whether discussing his life in Chicago, love, angst, joyously being black or just jamming with friends has made for memorable moments. According to him, he’ll never release a project and ask some to pay for it. Which may be the strangest, yet most enjoyable thing about him.

Everybody's Something
Pusha Man
Smoke Again
Baby Blue / Heaven Only Knows / The Way / Church
14,400 Minutes / Family / Long Time II
Brain Cells
Favorite Song
Home Studio (Back Up in This Bitch)
Interlude (That's Love)
Sunday Candy
Wonderful Everyday
Family Matters
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Brandon Caldwell has been writing about music and news for the Houston Press since 2011. His work has also appeared in Complex, Noisey, the Village Voice & more.
Contact: Brandon Caldwell