Northwestern is just miles from one of the hip-hop capitals of the world, but students usually have to seek out Chicago’s music scene on their own. There’s one significant exception to that: in 2014, Chicago’s current hip-hop hero Chance the Rapper performed as Dillo Day’s daytime headliner. But that was before he shot into the mainstream with hits like “Sunday Candy” and the acclaimed album Coloring Book — so, of course, we need Chance to come back.
A Chance guest appearance could’ve fit into every prominent student concert last year … but it never happened. A new year means new hope for what A&O Productions and Mayfest can do, but for now, let’s reminisce on what could’ve (and should’ve) been.
Artists: Young Thug, Kehlani
Date: Sept. 30, 2016
Venue: Welsh-Ryan Arena
“Mixtape” may be the most underrated song off Coloring Book, in large part thanks to a verse from Young Thug (and should-be-Blowout-performer Lil’ Yachty). However, Chance and Thugger weren’t in the best place during Blowout — just a week before, Young Thug ditched on his planned appearance at Chance’s “Magnificent Coloring Day.” Seeing as Thugger arrived late to Blowout and was reluctant to play his own hits, though, a Chance appearance might not have even saved his performance.
Kehlani also worked with Chance the Rapper on her 2015 song “The Way.” While she didn’t bring Chance out for the song, she did bring out another local rapper — Towkio, the Savemoney rapper who contributed the hook to Chance’s “Juke Jam.” That was a highlight of her impressive set, but a Chance appearance would’ve been consolation for the unexciting Young Thug set to come.
A&O Chicago Benefit
Artists: Noname, Jamila Woods
Date: Feb. 2, 2017
A&O's reinvented winter concert focusing on local artists gave us an even better opportunity for a surprise Chance the Rapper appearance. Headliner Noname garners Chance comparisons frequently for her Chicago upbringing and casual flows, and she worked with him on Coloring Book highlight “Finish Line/Drown.” She performed her verse from the song live — sadly, without Chance.
Jamila Woods has a closer connection to the rapper. Also from Chicago, she sang the hook for one of his biggest hits, “Sunday Candy,” which she performed solo at the show. She also sings on the Coloring Book song “Blessings,” and Chance added a verse to her own song “LSD” (off the amazing debut album, HEAVN). However, the night wasn't great for guest appearances in general — Noname didn't even come out to rap her verse of “Very Blk” when Woods performed the song during her opening set.
Artists: Jeremih, Aminé
Date: April 21, 2017
Venue: Riviera Theatre
Jeremih’s set during Ball was begging for a Chance the Rapper appearance. Not only is the R&B superstar from Chicago, but he made a whole mixtape with Chance last December, Merry Christmas Lil’ Mama. Not to mention Jeremih also made his own appearance on Coloring Book, during the ending of “Summer Friends.” Jeremih stuck to his own material during Ball, though, but made sure to shout out some other giants of the Chicago music scene at the end of his set.
Aminé has little to no connection to Chance — but it is worth mentioning that he brought the best guest performer of the year: Joey Purp. They’ve never worked together, but that didn’t stop Aminé from letting Purp, a rapper from Chicago, do a song of his own during the Ball opening set. That song, “Girls @,” happens to feature Chance, so what stopped Purp from pulling a few more strings to bring his fellow Savemoney crew member to the show?
Date: May 21, 2017
Artists: MGMT, DRAM, Gramatik, Little Simz, Porches
I’m not going to talk about every Dillo Day set here — although I can only imagine how amazing a Chance appearance during MGMT’s set would’ve been. Instead, let’s focus solely on daytime headliner DRAM.
The Big Baby gave us one of the most surprising Dillo sets, considering at least half the crowd didn’t know that he has some pipes to go with his rap talent. One of his best singing performances comes on “DRAM Sings Special,” an interlude off Coloring Book. DRAM performed the song at Dillo, but didn’t use it as a way to introduce Chance. Maybe that makes some sense, given that Chance the Rapper doesn’t actually rap on “Special” — but DRAM has also accompanied Chance live on the reprise of “Blessings,” the Coloring Book closer.
With Blowout coming up, here’s to this being the year we get Chance back to Northwestern.