On the Eve of His ‘Big Day,’ Chance the Rapper Poured His Heart Into Chicago

By Mark Braboy

In the warm, wee hours of Thursday night, before the supposed release of Chance The Rapper’s new “Owbum”, The Big Day, Chicago’s lush and colorful Garfield Park Conservatory was filled to the brim with friends, family, and his most dedicated supporters as he treated the city to an intimate and sentimental performance in celebration with Spotify, Chance’s Big Day.

“I’m so glad that you all are here because I want you all to know that I did this for you. As long as our relationship stays mutual, this can go on forever,” Chance said to the attentive audience as he sat in a small chair before them. “I can’t wait for you guys to hear this music. It’s really, truly me in every sense of the word. It’s exactly how I feel, it’s how I feel about my friends, it’s how I feel about my wife, it’s how I feel about my daughters, it’s how I feel about my God. It’s really, really me.”

Among the evening’s backdrop of vibrant, green fauna and drinks inspired by Chance’s mixtape discography, was a mix of day one Chano fans, friends, and longtime industry supporters such as Fake Shore Drive owner and founder Andrew Barber and Lyrical Lemonade owner-director Cole Bennett. Guests continued to enjoy the beautiful plants, parlay, and mingle until the show’s start time of 10:30 p.m.

While everyone was greeted with a solid set from DJ Vic Lloyd, the wait for Chance’s set was longer than anticipated as attendees were left standing for over an hour. But, by the time Donnie Trumpet, Nico Segal, and the rest of The Social Experiment arrived, the ravenous crowd poured all their love and enthusiasm towards the stage, awaiting the city’s proverbial knight in shining armor. And sure enough, Chance burst out, kicking things off with his 2019 single “Groceries”, followed by a spirited performance of “Summer Friends.”

The South Side native gave fans a 40-minute, 10-song performance that one would have assumed to be loaded with a handful of brand-new material from The Big Day. Instead, he gave a medley of fan favorites and classic singles from 10 Day, Acid Rap, and Coloring Book. That’s not to say that it was a bad thing, however; the intimacy of the Garfield Park Conservatory allowed Chance to perform each of these songs passionately and with an added sense of spirituality. And though there weren’t any major surprises for the evening, he did debut one Big Day cut: “Do You Remember.” Between songs, Chance continuously expressed his appreciation to the crowd for of their support; Chance’s Big Day was certainly a memorable evening in Chicago.

“Regardless of what happens after tomorrow, I’m glad that you’re finally, finally with me,” he tells the crowd. Apparently, that “regardless” may have been hinting at the album’s delayed release. Regardless, here are four standout moments from Chance the Rapper and Spotify’s Big Day.

  1. Chance The Rapper pours his heart out

    Throughout the evening, Chance got personal with his fans during several interludes. He took old and new fans on a very personal journey as he shared stories of traveling on his first national tour with the late, great Mac Miller, traveling on small Midwest tours in a car belonging to his manager’s mom, and how he rose to become a Grammy award-winning artist all while remaining an independent artist.

    Deeper than rap though, he constantly expressed his deepest gratitude to his wife, Kirsten Bennett and their daughters for not only their support, but also helping him become a better man, father, and husband. As you may expect, there was hardly a dry eye in the house during some of these moments, as the audience poured their love right back towards the man who they watched grow from the beginning of his career.

  2. He turned a minor mistake into a memorable moment

    Despite the emotional tone of the show, Chano from 79th had the fans pretty hype throughout his energetic performances of “Cocoa Butter Kisses,” All We Got,” and the explosive “No Problems.” He also decided to give the crowd a treat when he performed a song from his 10 Day mixtape, “Brain Cells.” But, despite all his attempts to play it smooth, Chance somehow forgot the lyrics to the throwback record, which understandably, he was not used to performing. So, like the showman he is, he gave the eager fans a chance to fill in the blanks, creating a huge and fun sing-a-long instead.

  3. Chance debuts The Big Day‘s “Do You Remember”

    Chance’s reveal of “Do You Remember” felt highly appropriate for the evening’s personal and spiritual tone; musically, it’s a more poignant play on his usual gospel & R&B fusions, with sobering keys and an ethereal soundscape. Lyrically, it’s a compelling, somber retrospective look into Chance’s personal journey that’s almost reminiscent of songs like “Same Drugs” and “Summer Days.” The adoring crowd were captivated by Chance’s heartfelt performance, which then set the tone for the rest of Chance’s show.

  4. He took us to church as he concluded with “Blessings”

    As Chance arrived on stage for the encore, he came through for the reprise of “Blessings,” which had to have been one of his strongest performances of the song to date. With the help of The Social Experiment, the room’s spiritual vibes became even stronger and he encouraged everyone to count and appreciate their blessings, making for a high point of the evening and as heartwarming a close to the show as one could hope.

Chance The Rapper’s new album, The Big Day is now available on all streaming services and digital marketplaces.

Dinah Jane Tells Us How Tupac And Mariah Carey Inspired Her Loved-Up New Song ‘SZNS’

A few hours before Dinah Jane dropped her latest single, “SZNS,” she had all the nerves of an expectant mother.

“Every time I drop a song it feels like I’m giving birth to a new child,” the 22-year-old told MTV News over the phone. “It’s just exciting every time.”

It’s especially exciting when the song in question is one that’s been tucked away in a vault for a whole year. Dinah recorded “SZNS” last summer, but decided to put it on the backburner while launching her solo career with “Bottled Up,” a flirty, frothy bop featuring Ty Dolla $ign and Marc E. Bassy that made for a strong debut. Now that another summer has rolled around, though, she’s happy to soundtrack another season (er, SZN) of love.

“You know, for the little lovebirds that are about to head into cuffing season,” she laughed.

The wait was worth it — “SZNS,” which dropped on Friday (July 26), is a delightfully optimistic love song about a relationship that’s strong enough to weather any storm. “Summer through the winter, we been through it / Might fall, but spring back to it,” Dinah sings over the sunny beat. Throughout the song, she’s joined by A Boogie Wit Da Hoodie, and the two sporadically trade lines and bounce off each other in a way that breaks the traditional formula of a collaboration, wherein two artists deliver separate, solo verses. The result is a duet that sounds refreshingly natural and fun; take, for instance, the first verse, where Dinah and A Boogie playfully interpolate Cam’ron’s “Hey Ma.” That throwback hit was a major inspiration for “SZNS,” as was Nelly and Kelly Rowland’s “Dilemma.”

“Those kind of songs stood out to me as a kid. I noticed that they didn’t have a formula and they kind of just went with the vibe,” Dinah said. “There was never anything like, ‘She goes here, and then he comes, and then she comes, and then he goes.’ I feel like that gets played out. I love that we’re all over the place and we’re not just a stick version of a song.”

“SZNS” was always planned to be a duet, but the original version featured just Dinah with a male demo singer. When it came time to find another artist to hop on the track, Dinah’s team was adamant about A Boogie, and Dinah, a longtime fan of the New York rapper, was immediately on board.

“We put him on and his lyrics really spoke to me,” she said. “It was just so raw, real, and 100 percent vulnerable. He said some really dope things. My favorite line from him is, ‘I want to be in love but I don’t have a heart no more.’ I was like, OK, he’s hitting me with the lyrics!”

Besides “Hey Ma,” Dinah name-checked Tupac’s “Thugz Mansion” as another sonic inspiration for “SZNS.” Vitally, her throwback influences also informed the song’s romantic, mood-setting violin intro — she wanted to pay homage to the records she grew up on that featured instrumental intros, like Mariah Carey’s “Always Be My Baby.” But even though her music takes heavy cues from the ’90s and early-aughts, she contends that that’s simply where her heart lies.

“I just fell into that lane. I wanted to create music that I’d want to cover,” she explained. “There’s so many 2000s songs that I wanted to cover as a kid, and if that’s the case, then why not make it yourself?

“I’m happy that it’s heading into its own lane,” she continued, discussing her solo output thus far. “That’s what I was afraid of when I first started making music — I was afraid that it wouldn’t sound like anything on the radio or any other artist’s music that’s popular right now. But, you know, I’m just doing my own thing. I don’t want to follow the trends. I’m here to make music that makes me happy and that moves me.”

“SZNS” follows the release of Dinah’s eponymous three-track bundle in April, which showcased her creative growth with the confident “Heard It All Before,” moody “Pass Me By,” and confessional “Fix It.” A full-length album will come in due time, she says, but only when she’s “100 percent ready.” For now, she plans to release more music later this year, teasing that fans are “in for one hell of a ride.” But before that, she’s got a “SZNS” music video to brainstorm, and maybe a bit of choreography to go along with it.

“I kind of wish ‘SZNS’ was a twerking song because I would totally go off,” she laughed, before reconsidering. “Maybe I will. I’ll just make it work.”

Chance The Rapper’s Giant New Album Features Nicki Minaj, Shawn Mendes, And So Many More

Well, it looks like it is Chance The Rapper‘s Big Day, after all. His debut studio album, The Big Day, is out now after a brief delay and it’s massive. It throws more names and collaborators at you than you would think possible for a single album, along with three skits among its 22 tracks. Nicki Minaj and Shawn Mendes rank as two of the more surprising guests but there’s plenty more in store. It’s truly a big day. A big album for a big day.

Every corner of The Big Day comes with big surprises. Bon Iver‘s Justin Vernon contributes to “Do You Remember?” and both Smino and Chance’s father Ken Bennett can be heard on “Eternal.” There’s Timbaland on “Big Fish,” Pi’erre Bourne and Lil Durk on “Slide Around,” Megan Thee Stallion on “Handsome,” and this isn’t even touching the two biggest surprises: Nicki Minaj gracing “Slide Around” with her presence and Shawn Mendes slinking into “Ballin Flossin.” It’s as though Chance A&R’d a DJ Khaled-like LP to showcase some of the industry’s biggest talents.

Chance announced the release date for The Big Day on Jimmy Kimmel Live! last week. In June, his first two mixtapes, 10 Day and Acid Rap, hit streaming services for the first time. He also released “Groceries” with Tisakorean in May which, sadly, didn’t make The Big Day.

Listen to Chance’s star-studded album up above.

Bop Shop: Songs From Taylor Swift, Big Sean, Rico Nasty, And More

Big Sean signed to Kanye West’s G.O.O.D. Music in 2007 (after rapping for him at a radio station in 2005) and grew his fanbase over the next decade. But after dropping Double Or Nothing with Metro Boomin in 2017, Sean canceled the Unfriendly Reminder tour with Playboi Carti and seemed to fall off the face of the earth. He finally gave an update in March, saying, “I stepped back from everything I was doing, everything I had going on, because somewhere in the middle of it, I just felt lost and I didn’t know how I got there.” He sought out professional help and went to therapy, untangling the cords of his life. He revealed that this resulted in him making the best music of his life. Four months later, that turns out be true with the release of “Overtime.” He’s back — bolder, stronger, and better than ever.

It starts with confidence. Sean’s not rebuilding his entire aesthetic from the ground up; he’s tightening it. “Overtime” is like a triumphant chorus of horns that play after a triple-overtime win during March Madness. It immediately lets you know that victory is here, that the battle between Sean and himself is won. “Shit, I didn’t take a break, my n—a, I broke / Broke my heart, broke my soul, don’t cry for me though / If you don’t break nothing down then it’s no room to grow / One mental block lead to another, shit it’s dominos / Mixtape Sean, but I’m in album mode,” he raps, setting himself up for the future by casting away the past. (He even adopts a spot-on Kawhi Leonard laugh.) What sticks the most about “Overtime” is how it feels so much like a prequel. For longtime fans, new fans, and nosy haters eager to create memes, it offers a slice of Sean’s best parts, even managing to make his lesser ones redeemable. —Trey Alston

YBN Cordae’s Debut Album Brings Along Pusha T And Meek Mill For The Hike

YBN Cordae‘s debut album, The Lost Boy, is finally here. After lurking around hip-hop’s stratosphere over the last couple of months thanks to collaborations with Chance The Rapper (“Bad Idea“), Anderson .Paak (“RNP“), and H.E.R. (“Racks“), YBN Cordae arrives in splendor with an album boasting big features and an even bigger presence. He isn’t lost, at least not anymore.

The Lost Boy is 15 tracks long and features both “Bad Idea” and “RNP.” Along with both Chance and .Paak, J. Cole (who produces “RNP”), Ty Dolla $ign, Arin Ray, Meek Mill, and Pusha T all guest star on the LP. It arrives at the end of his Lost Boy Tour that kicked off in May and wraps up on the first day of August in Chicago.

Last month, YBN Cordae was revealed to be a member of the 2019 XXL Freshman Class along with Megan Thee Stallion, Blueface, Rico Nasty, Tierra Whack, and more.

Check out YBN Cordae’s debut album up above.

The Rallying Cry Of Political Unrest in 2019’s Pop Music

By Erica Russell

On Wednesday (July 24), English pop-rock band The 1975 released the first song and opening track off their upcoming album, Notes on a Conditional Form. Though the band has woven political commentary into their signature neon-hued synth-pop of previous releases, the self-titled track makes it plainer than ever, featuring teenage Swedish eco-activist Greta Thunberg delivering an impassioned oration calling for mass action against climate change over a plush, ambient soundbed. The 1975’s decision to introduce their forthcoming body of work with a green-minded altruistic gesture (proceeds will go to the Extinction Rebellion initiative) is powerful, though perhaps not surprising considering the current musical climate.

Pop music has long served as an oasis for listeners looking to leave their worries — whether banal or more existential — behind, whether suspended on the dance floor or drowned out in their headphones. Across recent years the genre has, even according to academic studies, become tangibly sadder in both production and lyrics — perhaps an obvious byproduct of the increasingly tumultuous world systems from which popular music springs. More than ever, it’s proving impossible to tune out the socio- and eco-political crises piling up in our daily news cycles. It seems our pop stars are feeling the pressure, too.

Over the past seven months, there’s been a noticeable spike in politically charged mainstream pop releases. This is not to say pop hasn’t touched on politics in the past. Quite the contrary: Artists like The Beatles, Janelle Monáe, Madonna, Michael Jackson, Beyonce, M.I.A., Lady Gaga, and so many others have made both subversive and overt social statements with their songs and music videos. But the political climate in 2019 — the immigrant detention centers that are more akin to WWII internment camps, the rise of draconian abortion legislation that strips women of their rights to bodily ownership, and the lax firearm laws that continue to result in deadly mass shootings — has proven an especially ripe ploughland for cultivating lyrical and visual inspiration for artists who are less concerned with escapism and cathartic release than they are with actionable change.

The discourse surrounding women’s rights and sexual autonomy, one of the zeitgeist’s loudest politically charged discussions, picked up speed in late 2017 thanks to the viral #MeToo movement, which gained greater momentum in the public consciousness throughout 2018. But there’s been an uptick in expressed frustration from musicians this year, with a number of Top 40 artists lambasting patriarchal oppression head on.

In May, Halsey made a bold feminist statement with “Nightmare” which features lyrics like, “I’ve been polite, but won’t be caught dead / Lettin’ a man tell me what I should do in my bed.” The following month, Miley Cyrus released the deeply political music video for her She Is Coming single “Mother’s Daughter,” the visual for which celebrates intersectional feminism by including bodies of all shapes, sizes, colors, and genders. The clip also features a number of poignant feminist statements, including the visual of a woman breastfeeding and the declaration that “I am not an object.” Lyrics including “Don’t fuck with my freedom” make explicitly clear who Cyrus is criticizing.

Also this year, Kesha, who has been embroiled in a legal battle with her alleged abuser Dr. Luke since 2014, released a protest song called “Rich, White, Straight Men.” Over humorously cabaret-style production (a playful nod to the current circus of the American government), she lampoons hypocritical immigration policies, anti-LGBTQ sentiment, and pay disparity: “If you’re from another land and come here / You won’t have to climb a wall / And if you are a boy who loves a boy / You’ll get a wedding cake and all / And if you are a lady and you do your lady work / Then you will make as many dollars as the boys / Not just two-thirds,” she sings.

Pop heavyweight Taylor Swift, whose generally apolitical former public image made some listeners bristle, was met with both applause and criticism when she released the pro-LGBTQIA+ music video for “You Need to Calm Down” during Pride Month in June. Nevertheless, it notably became her second No. 2 hit of the year. The visual finds the artist taking a firm stance against anti-LGBTQ sentiments as she laughs off homophobic protestors with picket signs and sings lines like “Control your urges to scream about all the people you hate / ‘Cause shade never made anybody less gay.”

Indeed, political unrest has extended far and wide across the popsphere: Other releases have taken aim at gun control (Madonna’s controversial “God Control” video), human rights (Marina’s “To Be Human“), and global warming (Lil Dicky’s feature-laden “Earth“) — the latter a topic Grimes has pledged to explore, albeit subversively, on her planned forthcoming album, Miss Anthropocene. Even radical self-love, itself a highly politicized movement, is part of the conversation: Lizzo’s “Soulmate,” MUNA’s “Number One Fan” and Ava Max’s “So Am I” all reject societal pressures to bend to expectations and perform or look a certain way.

Outside the mainstream, independent and emerging pop artists are continuing to make their political stances heard loud and clear: Dorian Electra’s “Flamboyant” plays with outdated gender performance expectations; Lola Blanc’s “Angry Too” is a rallying cry against misogynistic violence; Miya Folick’s “Malibu Beauty” rails against gendered beauty standards.

With the 2020 election around the bend and issues like climate change, abortion, gun control, and LGBTQ+ rights gaining increased urgency in the public consciousness, it’s unlikely that pop music’s current trend of politically charged releases will decelerate. If anything, it’s only going to become more difficult to separate the artist from the message, especially as that message becomes more overtly political. Now that the pop anthem is the new protest song, singing along to your favorite track can make your voice heard in more ways than one.

Big Sean Is OK With A Relationship Ending In New Song With Jhene Aiko

Big Sean is clearing his consciousness through his new music. By getting out everything that’s been pent up over the course of his brief break, he says he’s making the best music of his life. His latest song, “Single Again,” is the latest taste of his new reality, as he speaks about his past relationships and being better off by himself. Interestingly, it features his ex-flame, Jhene Aiko. Ty Dolla $ign also makes an appearance.

“Single Again” isn’t a triumphant celebration of breaking up like Trina’s 2007 song of the same name. Instead, it turns the lens inward, seeking ways to grow from the experience. “Blaming you is just so easy / But maybe the problem’s me,” he raps on the chorus, later saying “Maybe I should spend this time on me.” It’s a markedly different experience than his 2014 breakup anthem, “I Don’t Fuck With You” that featured E-40. This go around, you can hear him in the mirror, frantically searching for why he keeps ending up like this. “Maybe ’cause my mama never worked it out with my dad / Maybe because she had insecurities and she had them bad / Maybe ’cause single parent love was all I ever had,” he spits, wounded. Jhene Aiko comes in and offers warm supporting vocals that seem to suggest that, if the song’s about their previous relationship, she understands the situation. Later, Ty Dolla $ign also adds touching flourishes to the somewhat somber and mellow tune. Everything’s going to be okay for Big Sean.

Big Sean also released “Overtime” earlier this week. The song covers Sean’s break and the fact that he “broke” mentally, having to rebuild his psyche with professional help before setting foot in the studio again. Now that he’s back with two gigantic releases, it looks like his break has done him wonders.

Listen to “Single Again” up above.

Lizzo Twerks, Missy Elliott Lives In A Car, And Dancers Float In Impossible ‘Tempo’ Video

In the thick of summer, Lizzo and Missy Elliott‘s “Tempo” continues to crank the heat up, providing a terrific twerk anthem that sends the body into to sexy, shaking spasms. In the new song’s equally sizzling new video, Lizzo takes centerstage, biting her lip and shining her radiant smile — all before Missy shows up, too.

The celebratory, sexual scenery of the new “Tempo” video also comes with enough dancing to make you fall victim to needing that tempo, just like Lizzo and Missy do. There are also cars driving on fireball-filled rims and floating dancers, but more on that later.

“Tempo” takes place under a starless night sky, where the only light comes from a nearby building — Lizzo’s Breakfast and Burgers — and the glow of Lizzo’s pristine skin. She wears a cowboy hat and is supported by a cast of backup dancers as she throws that thang to and fro, making the case for twerking to be renamed “Lizzoing.” She’s the main attraction, but the surrounding scene is just as wild.

People bounce off of car hoods, frozen in mid-air like Final Fantasy‘s Stopga spell has just been cast. No one is visibly disturbed by the seemingly impossible scene of cars riding around with flaming rims, either. And then, in perhaps the craziest moment of the clip, Missy arises from inside the hood of a car for her lively verse without so much as a scratch. It’s an immensely chaotic video with an undeniably scorching energy perfect for summer.

“Tempo” comes from Lizzo’s recently released studio album Cuz I Love You that dropped in April. The LP also features the title track and her lively single “Juice.” In June, she appeared in the video for “Blame It on Your Love” with Charli XCX.

Watch the hot and heavy video for “Tempo” — which also hits mvtU and MTV Live today — up above.

Rick Ross And Drake Speak The Language Of Luxury On ‘Gold Roses’

Rick Ross and Drake are the last bidders, and winners, of expensive paintings at auctions. They fill up their gas tanks without so much as glancing at the price on the pump. If they’re dying of thirst in the middle of the desert, they’ll find Fiji water — because regular water won’t do. They aren’t just rich; they’re wealthy. And their new collaboration, “Gold Roses,” is pinky-up, drinking-strawberry-Fanta-out-of-a-champagne glass rap that doesn’t let you forget it. Both rappers bring their A-game over a slow-moving beat that’s at odds with this summer’s fast pace. They want you to slow it down for a second and revel in the moment. Time is money.

“Gold Roses” is soulful and elegant. It’s what Bruce Wayne listens to in the Batmobile while zooming through red lights. Drake waltzes in front of Ross for an opening verse about financial freedom for himself and those around him, and talks about what he’s personally on. He’s already in 2020, preparing to build schools and feed the homeless. Rick Ross, the Pharoah of the Flex, then comes in and cracks his knuckles, determined to outdo Drake’s braggadocio. He succeeds with just one line: “Chanel in the mail, FedEx from Pharrell.” Among other things, he was nominated for a Grammy (but never won), he gives his partner glass slippers (which have to be awfully uncomfortable), and he can fly you out to the Cannes Film Festival and fill you up with lobsters and prawns. When you can brag about buying seafood, that’s when you know you’re in a different tax bracket.

“Gold Roses” will appear on Ross’s forthcoming album Port of Miami 2 that’s set to drop on August 9. The LP will also feature the previously released “Act A Fool” and “Big Tyme” with Swizz Beatz.

Listen to Rick Ross and Drake’s special brand of luxury talk in “Gold Roses” up above.

Tyler, The Creator Wants To Free A$AP Rocky Himself In New Freestyle

Tyler, the Creator really has a way with words. Just listen to “Earfquake” and his adorable pleading that manages to get a single tear falling from your eye. He dropped by Funkmaster Flex’s show to deliver a whimsical 7-minute storm of words in a freestyle that was random, wild, and socially aware thanks to a brief shoutout to A$AP Rocky, currently detained in Sweden on assault charges. Tyler spent a lot of time in deep thought as he searched for new word combinations to pull out of his head’s tangled mess. What came out resulted in one of Flex’s most memorable freestyles so far.

Tyler starts off the freestyle supporting Rocky with the line “I might just fly to Sweden to free him,” before getting into what he would do if he could switch places with him. From there, Tyler puts his head in his hands, his eyes darting to and fro as he looks through his memory bank. He raps about seducing Flex, much to the DJ’s amusement, and then gets into the fact that his GOLF clothing store made a few million dollars this week (most likely an exaggeration, but we’ll buy it). He then talks about his past controversial ways, saying “They bringing up my past, but I don’t hide it/Goblin out now bitch buy it.” He ends in a flurry of hilarious word choices that leave both emcee and DJ in fits of laughter.

Next month, Tyler is heading out on tour in support of his recently released album, IGORHe’s bringing along Jaden Smith, Blood Orange, and GoldLink. He recently released his own ice cream that mixed peppermint and spearmint flavors. Yuck.

Watch Tyler spit a crazy 7-minute verse for Flex up above.