You gotta hand it to Chance the Rapper: He has successfully managed to make people who’ve probably haven’t set foot in a church in years listen to his own flexible brand of gospel rap.
The Grammy-winning, Chicago MC brought church to all those local heathens during his debut performance at the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo. It was certainly a big show for the rap star, who hasn’t performed live in a year and cancelled his previously planned “Big Tour” (which had a stop in Houston) to spend more time with his ever-growing family.
Young Chancelor came out swinging at the top of his hour-and-some-change set, doing a couple minutes of his big hit “No Problem,” backed by a seven-piece band that included four backup singers and a trumpet player. But that was just an appetizer for what he really the hype the crowd with: “Blessings.” Once he got into that, he went into proud-preacherman mode, rousing the crowd to sing along and give props to The Man Upstairs.
Most of the show had the energetic Chance performing many of his most uplifting, inspirational bops. He did his verse from Kanye West’s “Ultralight Beam” — dare we say it — beaming with the Holy Spirit. He went full Michael Jackson, dancing up a storm (“I came to Houston to dance,” he said at one point) during “All Day Long.”
This was followed by a slew of sportswear-clad dancers, hitting the stage to dance along to “I Got You (Always and Forever).” He even threw fans of his 10 Day/Acid Rap years a few bones by performing “Cocoa Butter Kisses,” “Brain Cells” (where he dipped out of his shoes for a bit) and “Acid Rain.” The only time he didn’t seem to be into it was when he did his verse for DJ Khaled’s poppy “I’m the One,” complete with recorded vocals from Justin Bieber.
There weren’t any big surprise cameos. (He did give a shout-out to Houston rapper Megan Thee Stallion, who’s been through some much-publicized, record-label drama this week, by calling her an “amazing friend” and “amazing businesswoman.”)
The only guests he bought out were Houston rapper TisaKorean and his crew for his hit “The Mop” and “GRoCERIES,” which he and Chance dropped last year. (The dancers once again popped up for that one.) Before that, Chance paid respect to Houston rap by doing a cover of the late Big Moe’s “Barre Baby.” He also gave some love to his Houston-born wife Kirsten, showing that God isn’t the only person he gives high praise to on the regular.
Chance closed things out by giving us another round of “Blessings” — and considering that dude brought in 62,000 tickets, RodeoHouston was definitely blessed to have him.
“Cocoa Butter Kisses”
“I’m the One”
“All Day Long”
“I Got You (Always and Forever)”
“Sun Come Down”
“The Mop” (with TisaKorean)
“GRoCERIES” (with TisaKorean)
“All We Got”