Chance the Rapper performs Sunday night at Pitchfork Music Festival at Union Park. | Alison Green/Chicago Reader

5 ways Chance the Rapper’s Pitchfork set made you a proud Chicagoan

SHARE 5 ways Chance the Rapper’s Pitchfork set made you a proud Chicagoan
SHARE 5 ways Chance the Rapper’s Pitchfork set made you a proud Chicagoan

Over the weekend, Pitchfork Music Festival celebrated its 10-year anniversary with a robust lineup including age-old rock bands Wilco and Sleater-Kinney as headliners. But it was South-Side-groomed Chance the Rapper who toppled all expectations with his Sunday night performance. He played music from his two mixtapes and one studio album, slipped important updates on his career trajectory and, most noticeably, fed off the crowd’s excitement.

Calling his Pitchfork performance an “historic night for me,” the 22-year-old reminded all young Chicagoans in the tightly packed and swarming audience why it’s so cool to be from the Windy City.

1. Displayed Chicago dance moves without breaking a sweat

Chance can dance. In the past few years, he’s taught his crowds how to Zan with that Lean and Juke Slide, but last night he took it way back. He showed off the complicated Chicago footwork, a 1980s dance that involves fast foot movement with twists and turns.

He danced throughout the night to the upbeat sounds of his Social Experiment band, getting more excited based off of the crowd’s energy.

2. Showed mad love to the moms in his life

Chance gave a shoutout to the three “moms” in his life who raised him. It’s not a surprise for the rapper, who has made a handful of songs referencing both his biological mom (“Hey Ma”) and grandmother (“Sunday Candy”). But it was a nice reminder of how important family is to him and how it took a Chicago village to raise him.

He makes it cool to show public displays of affection toward the women in his life, and thank them for what they’ve done for him.

3. Repped Chicago sports teams in each one of his sets

Chance opened and closed his show wearing a black Sox cap. The South Sider infused several different items of Chicago sports paraphernalia into his performance.

After many wardrobe changes, Chance ended the night wearing a No. 15 white Bulls jersey, which on the back read “The Rapper.” He was feeding off a trend started with the ’90s Bulls team of his childhood, and made it clear that he’s a Windy City sports fan through and through.

The support even flowed over into his music. At one point he brought the Chicago Bulls bucket boys — hypeman drummers for the team — to the stage, which sat only blocks away from the United Center in Union Park.

4. Brought his soul and nostalgia — plus Kirk Franklin — to the stage

When “Surf”dropped earlier this year, fans got to hear the many trumpeting talents of Nico Segal, known as Donnie Trumpet. Last night, Chance gave way to Segal again, as the trumpeter dressed in an all-white suit electrified the crowd with his solo instrumental.

True to his roots, Chance also provided an uplifting performance with his rendition of everyone’s favorite “Arthur” theme song, where reminded us to “get along with each other.” In his “Sunday Candy” performance he “took our butts to church” on Sunday evening during his high energy.

In between all the excitement, he showed his spiritual side when he brought out gospel artist Kirk Franklin, who performed his 1998 hit “Revolution” with a bright blue sky in the background.

5. Now that Chance has conquered every Chicago stage, we’re excited to see what’s next

“This whole show is for you,” the rapper said. “We canceled the live stream because we don’t want nobody that’s not here.”

He continually acknowledged the fans on the sides and stuck in the way back of the crowds, saying that he saw them. When he played music from his first mixtape he said, “These are for my Day One fans.”

Chance the Rapper, who just returned from a Europe tour, said last night would be his last performance in the city for a while. He left the stage after an encore performance of “Chain Smoker,” seemingly not ready for the night to end.


Chance the Rapper’s No Collar beer was sold during Pitchfork Music Festival. / Jordyn Holman/ For the Sun-Times

Making Pitchfork his chosen music festival of the year, Chance the Rapper repeatedly reminded the young crowd that this performance was for them.

And throughout his set, the crowd could feel that it was true. Chicago’s own, who has grown up before our eyes, has commanded several stages throughout the years — Lollapalooza, his free music festival earlier this summer and at Lyricist Loft events in Harold Washington Library’s YouMedia Center — but knowing that it might be his last one in his hometown for awhile added a premature sense of nostalgia. It was just good knowing that you were at Pitchfork to witness it.

—Jordyn Holman

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