Concert Reviews

Chance the Rapper Preached His Hip-Hop Blessings at The Bomb Factory

Chance the Rapper
With Francis and the Lights
The Bomb Factory, Dallas
Sunday, Oct. 16, 2016

It’s only fitting that Chance the Rapper performed on a Sunday — the Lord’s day — because Lil Chano from 79th took Dallas to church at The Bomb Factory.

Such descriptions of concerts are normally hyperbole. But not this time. There was a gospel choir, an uplifting message, a sense of community and many of the blessings that a church service can offer. But there was also confetti, a brightly colored, muppet-like mascot lion named Carlos, the smell of weed in the air and a sold-out crowd that knew every word to every one of the 23-year-old rapper’s songs.

Even an hour and a half after the doors opened at 7 p.m., the line to get in was wrapped around the block. Opener Francis and the Lights did his set solo, except for the brief moment that Chance came out on stage. While Chance didn’t say a word, his mere presence on the stage sent the crowd into a frenzy.
Around 9:30, Chance, wearing his signature No. 3 hat, came out with his band, Donnie Trumpet & the Social Experiment. They kicked off his set with “Angels” before transitioning into “Blessings” — both of which, like every other song Chance dropped last night, the crowd knew and sang every word to.

While his first two songs had more religious connotations, Chance then switched it up and told the crowd, “Let’s just have fun!” He dropped “Pusha Man” with help from the audience, who chanted “uh uh” and “got damn” along with the Chicago MC. Flashing lights lit up the venue, illuminating the clouds of smoke shooting from the stage as he went into “Smoke Again” and “Cocoa Butter Kisses.”

After that, about 15 minutes into the show, Chance tried to introduce himself and talk about his Magnificent Coloring World Tour. You could barely hear him over the dedicated crowd, but, he told them he wanted to get it “all together” and got the entire place to jump immediately as “My Favorite Song” dropped, with the crowd clapping along.

At that point, the crowd met Carlos, a mascot lion with the same “big fella” voice from Chance’s “No Problem.” For the rest of the show, Carlos acted as Chance’s hype man. With Carlos by his side, Chance went into “Brain Cells,” one of his earlier songs, before dropping “Smoke Break” and “Juke Jam.”

For the next song, “Same Drugs,” another mascot figure, this one purple, joined Chance. In addition to the flashing purple lights and a gospel singer, confetti dropped from the sky as “Same Drugs” smoothly switched into Kanye West’s “Ultralight Beam,” which was one of the highlights of the night. Ironically, the entire audience shouted Chance’s line from the song for him: “This is my part, nobody else speak.”
Then Carlos came back out for “No Problem” which set the crowd off yet again. He dropped hit after hit, with the crowd eating each song up, from “Mixtape” to “All Night” to “Sunday Candy.” On the last of those three, the audience again sang Chance’s line: “I got a future so I'm singing for my grandma/You singing too, but your grandma ain't my grandma!”

At that point, Chance thanked the crowd while the band was going off. Then a full gospel choir of bird-like mascot puppets came out to sing “How Great,” which filled the room with even more religious vibes. They played “Finish Line,” which moved into “Drown.” The hook of “Drown,” which features gospel legend Kirk Franklin, was especially powerful, as it’s not too common at a rap concert to sing, “All that was left was His love” with help from a full choir and a sold-out congregation.

Getting closer to the end, Chance dropped the “Blessings” reprise and turned the stage into a pulpit. While Chance “hate[s] to get real preachy,” he was “here to bring a message to y’all.” He encouraged the crowd to put away their phones and kicked off a sermon. “Did you know that your blessing ain’t at no show? But it’s coming. Your blessing ain’t on my mixtape, but it’s coming. It’s not of this world, but it’s coming,” he said. Then the crowd erupted together into the song, asking, “Are you ready for your blessings? Are you ready for your miracle?”

Then, Chance came out for an encore with his opener, Francis and the Lights, dropping “Summer Friends,” which Chance called his “favorite song” on Coloring Book. More confetti filled the air as Chance and Francis danced while Donnie Trumpet & the Social Experiment jazzed out.

The show came to a close a little after 11 p.m. On the “Blessings” reprise, Chance raps, “I speak to God in public.” Last night, he did exactly that, and it was a miraculous show.
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Mac McCann is a writer from Dallas. His work, covering a variety of topics, has been published in more than a dozen publications around the country, including The Dallas Morning News, The Chicago Tribune, Newsday, Houston Chronicle, The Seattle Times, The Charlotte Observer, The Austin American-Statesman, Complex, Reason, Austin Chronicle, Hawaii Tribune-Herald, OC Weekly, Phoenix New Times and more.
Contact: Mac McCann