At the moment, Chance The Rapper may arguably be the single most important musician in hip-hop — if not American pop music altogether. He’s used his platform as an independent artist to not only change the landscape of how artists market and release their music, but he’s also grown into one of the country’s brightest forward-thinkers, influencers, and activists. The Grammy Award-winning rapper recently stopped by the NPR offices in Washington D.C. to perform a set for their coveted Tiny Desk Concert series, and like countless packed tour shows and festival slots, Chance stopped time for a few moments with a moving, albeit slightly scaled back, performance.
NPR’s Tiny Desk Concert series has become one of the most elegantly diverse concert programs over the last few years, hosting everyone from Gallant to Gucci Mane, Dan Deacon to T-Pain with countless creators in between. Chance’s highly-anticipated moment behind the desk opened with a blissful rendition of “Juke Jam,” Coloring Book‘s dreary, wistful Justin Bieber and Towkio-assisted slow cut. Following the opening number and some charismatic repartee, Chance dives into a handwritten poem, penned on his way to NPR. The poem, “The Otherside,” is a vulnerable peek into the doors that led to Chano’s Xanax-blurred stint in Los Angeles, the rigors of life on the road, and the warmth of family life. The concert concludes with Chance and The Social Experiment’s cover of Stevie Wonder’s “They Won’t Go When I Go.” Enjoy.