8 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 21, at the Midland
Three thousand hip-hop fans in Kansas City gambled on Chance the Rapper last October when, rather than joining their friends and neighbors in watching the Royals beat the Houston Astros in a decisive playoff game, they attended a sold-out concert at the Midland by the young Chicago rapper.
Their bets paid off.
Chance the Rapper’s joy-infused and entirely electrifying outing confirmed his status as one of the most important artists of the decade. In addition to addressing societal ills such as senseless urban violence, the man born Chancelor Bennett in 1993 has accelerated upheaval in the music industry by giving his music away. As he raps on his audacious new mixtape “Coloring Book,” “I don’t make songs for free: I make ’em for freedom.”
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Bennett once resembled a kinder, gentler protégé of Kanye West. He may have surpassed West with “Coloring Book.” The hip-hop gospel of “Blessings” and the defiant “No Problem,” one of the most vibrant songs of the summer, are among the album’s many highlights. Bennett’s creativity is so astounding that guest appearances by stars including Justin Bieber, Future and 2 Chainz are among the least compelling components of “Coloring Book.”
Ticketholders to Wednesday’s sold-out concert will miss the broadcast of a Royals’ regular season game in Cleveland. Even if the show coincided with the seventh game of the World Series, however, opting for Bennett would still be the right call.
Francis and the Lights, a project overseen by Francis Farewell Starlite that’s featured on the cut “Summer Friends” from “Coloring Book,” opens the show.
Tickets to the sold-out concert were $50 in advance.