Chance the Rapper at Acid Rain show
Photo Credit: Smo Ostrowski

Chance the Rapper Celebrates 10 Years of 'Acid Rap' in Brooklyn

Chance the Rapper's Barclays Center show felt like a celebration of not just Acid Rap but the blog era as a whole.

Taking an edible before the 10th anniversary Acid Rap show in Brooklyn might not have been the smartest idea. But I’d like to think being under the influence allowed me to better digest this collection of songs inspired by Chance the Rapper’s own experiences with hallucinogens (specifically, and obviously, LSD). At the time of Acid Rap’s release in 2013, the Chicago rap scene was being defined by the then-burgeoning drill sound emerging from the Southside of Chicago, with Chief Keef serving as its de facto leader. Nicknames like "Chiraq" and images of violence began to change people’s perceptions of Chicago, with drill serving as the soundtrack. But the emergence of Chance the Rapper and other affiliated artists — like Noname, Mick Jenkins, and Vic Mensa — would provide another soundtrack for the city. One that aimed to find joy through the pain and frustration of a place they call home.

In a recent interview with Complex, Chance said that, “I think if I hadn’t had my spirit tugged on, literally, then I would’ve died. I would just be the representative of acid, and I’m so much more.”

This was represented on Saturday night at Barclays Center. With a diverse crowd of fans filtering through the hallways, it was clear that Chance had reached crossover appeal as one of the last stars from the blog era of hip-hop. Although he began his set with a run-through of Coloring Book hits — “No Problems,” “All Night,” and “Blessings” — Chance made sure to dedicate most of the rest of the night to celebrating his breakout mixtape. From “Good Ass Intro” to “Chain Smoker,” newer fans and seasoned ones alike enthusiastically recited lines, happily embracing this chapter of Chance’s life.

Photo Credit: Izzy Robertti

Chance’s peers also reveled in the chance to celebrate this chapter with the rapper. With appearances from Saba, Joey Bada$, and Mensa (who appeared alongside Chance for a notable performance of Acid Rap standout “Cocoa Butter Kisses”), Chance’s show felt like a celebration of not just Acid Rap, but the blog era as a whole.

As I left the show, my high still simmering, I realized how gratifying it was to see Chance revisit Acid Rap’s darker tracks like “Paranoia” and “Acid Rain,” but with a new and more mature perspective. Whether it was his cover of Kirk Franklin’s “Melodies From Heaven,” his R&B medley led by “The Highs & The Lows,” his performance of “Ultralight Beam” that uplifted the entire arena, or the nostalgic euphoria of “Same Drugs,” Chance the Rapper’s Acid Rap stop in Brooklyn gave fans a brighter appreciation for the work that led him to where he is.

And it was clear from his energy and participation with the crowd that, for Chance, the feeling is mutual — even 10 years later.