Chance the Rapper let the crowd at the sold-out, soon-to-be-demolished House of Blues on Los Angeles’s Sunset Strip in on a little secret mid-way through his Saturday-night set: This was to be his last show of the year. But he assured fans that 2015 would be big for him, with a new album expected, as his breakthrough, Acid Rap, is well over a year old. He gave fans a taste of the new material, debuting several new songs, teaching a chorus to one so it would feel “like a massive hit that everyone already knows.” It worked completely.
With the Chicago rapper’s charisma, his friends (Big Sean came out for a version Sean’s own “I Don’t Fuck With You”; Chance is reportedly collaborating with his roomie James Blake, plus J. Cole and Wyclef Jean, among others) and, most importantly, his incredible gift of outside-the-confines-of-genre songwriting, his assumptions of a bright future aren’t wishful thinking or ego-driven pride — they’re inevitable. Appropriately, his last 2014 show in support of Acid Rap was as much a victory lap as it was a preview of what’s to come. And from the sound of his new songs, Chance’s hype is deserved.