Chance the Rapper epitomizes the economic and sonic revolutions that have turned the music industry upside down in recent years.
As bewildered older musicians and outmoded record labels have been busy lamenting the evaporation of sales of physical product, Internet-savvy artists have become stars.
One of the most striking gauges of the new landscape is that Chance the Rapper is headlining large concert halls like the Midland theater without having released an official album.
Chance the Rapper, 22, born Chancelor Bennett in Chicago, achieved stardom when he released “Acid Rap” as a free mixtape in 2013. Bennett resembles the best friend everyone wished they had in high school as he raps about intoxicants, insecurities and his ardor for the opposite sex on the breakout project.
“Surf,” a new free download under the banner of Donnie Trumpet & The Social Experiment, is even better. Bennett collaborates with longtime friends and guest artists including Kansas City’s Janelle Monáe on the ambitious fusion of jazz, R&B and hip-hop.
The amusing hex Bennett casts on an ex-lover on Action Bronson’s “Baby Blue” has further expanded his appeal. He playfully raps that “I hope you never get off Fridays and you work at a Friday’s that’s always busy on Fridays.”
A portion of the money that Bennett’s fans have saved by not needing to buy his recordings can be applied to the purchase of tickets to Wednesday’s concert.
Tickets are $34.50 in advance through midlandkc.com.