Chance the Rapper Takes Tulsa to Church
Chance the Rapper (Chancellor Johnathan Bennett) took the city of Tulsa to church with his performance at the BOK Center on Tuesday night. Gospel rap has experienced a revival in one of the most powerful of ways through the success of this passionate artist.
“#Tulsa – you guys have been amazing the entire night!”
— Arena of the Year (@BOKCenter) May 10, 2017
The crowd showed up early on May 9th, eager to witness the Grammy award-winning Best New Artist of 2017. When concert-goers arrived, they had no idea the journey they were about to embark on – or maybe they did. “I’m trying to get into Heaven,” Chance exclaims before a song. He wasn’t just performing a concert. He was taking things a step further to reach the sinners and believers in the crowd. Regardless of your religious background or beliefs, Chance led each individual in attendance down a personal journey as they watched in awe. It’s safe to say that the experience proved to be no less than spiritual.
There is something refreshing about the music that Chance the Rapper is creating. It could be the robust tracks built and orchestrated by Peter CottonTale (@RealCottontale). It could be the lyrical miracles purposefully designed by Chance to mesmerize listeners. It could be the independent rapper’s persistence to not sign with a label and win a Grammy without one. It could be sold out shows across the country. Or it could be that he has chosen to stand for something greater than his music.
He creates music in a way that unites his listeners. Chance writes “the people’s chant must be everything the people can’t be,” a lyrical choice that unifies rather than divides, and educates – not just entertains. He sings with purpose, and if you cannot feel Christian undertones through his music (that he has released all online for free), you can undoubtedly witness the magic at a live concert.
Chance the Rapper | Best New Artist of the Year
Chance the Rapper manages to walk the fine line between many genres; at any given point, you don’t know if it’s Christian Hip-Hop, Rap Gospel, or Mainstream Pop. In an interview with Zane Lowe, Chance explains that “gospel” means more than just the Church. Gospel is about telling a story. When Chance originally moved to LA for 6 months, he says that he felt like he was losing touch with his God. This feeling prompted and inspired much of the music and story-telling found on the Coloring Book album. Zane Lowe claims that “devotion is on display on this record.” Chance wants to put God back into everyday life, even in the face of an industry that doesn’t provide a mainstream avenue to do so. In Chance’s words, we’re “not free until we can talk about God.”
The @chancetherapper concert in Tulsa was like a hip hop revival. Went in there looking for hip hop, left feeling uplifted like after church
— Klout (@Dmagic_22) May 10, 2017
It was truly special to watch and listen to 14,000 believers sing “How Great is Our God” during the concert on Tuesday. Whether it came from believing in God, or in Chance’s music, it was clear that the energy in the BOK Center was something extraordinary. If you get the chance, don’t miss the opportunity to treat yourself to this spiritual experience.
As a special bonus, here is a live performance on BBC’s Live Lounge of “All We Got.”