Last week, Chicago’s Chance The Rapper, Saba, and The Social Experiment, debuted a new track called Angels on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert.
The performance was riveting and refreshing for many reasons, but what really stood out to me was the way Chance put on for his city.
From the footwork (juke dancing), to the local radio shout out and hoodies both he and Saba were wearing (WGCI 107.5 and Power 92 are the main stations in Chicago that play hip hop), the slang (“woo woo this woo wap da bam”), the many references to Chicago culture in the song itself (including a recycled Kanye line and a nod to Chief Keef), and the way Chance speaks on his life as a new father, and the fact that he will never stray far from his roots (“clean up the parks so my daughter will have somewhere to play”, “I’m still at my old church”).
After a deeper listen to the lyrics, I found that at it’s core, the track subtly touches on the very real issue of violence in Chicago, and a widely felt sentiment by many in the city that they have been abandoned by those in power. However, in true Chance style, he chooses to turn this bleak idea on it’s head and has put forth an upbeat song which, despite all its hardship, celebrates and strengthens Chicago.