Chance the Rapper comes to Kent State by popular demand

Brittany Rees

When the Undergraduate Student Government surveyed students last spring to see who they wanted to perform on campus, USG Programming Director Kevin Otubu was surprised to find he barely recognized the name at the top of the list.

Of the 250 student responses, Chance the Rapper, with only two mixtapes and one single, was the most requested musician from students. 

“I hadn’t really listened to him,” Otubu said. “I had heard a few songs, but I didn’t really know a whole lot about him.” 

Otubu, along with the rest of USG, booked Chance to perform Thursday, Oct. 23 at the M.A.C. Center as a part of his Verge Campus Tour. 

Though tickets didn’t go on sale until this month, Otubu said students have been preparing for Chance’s arrival since September.

“While we were selling Timeflies tickets, people were asking me about Chance,” Otubu said, referring to USG’s September concert featuring the pop duo Timeflies. “I thought it would be one select group of people, one demographic that cared about Chance. But it was literally everyone, anyone. Every kind of person wanted to know how to get tickets.”

As of last week, floor tickets for the show have sold out. The only tickets remaining are balcony seats being offered to students for $15. 

Unlike Otubu, Max Nobis, the host of “Rap Art” on Black Squirrel Radio, said he wasn’t surprised at students’ enthusiasm for the rapper. 

“He’s one of the prominent emcees coming up,” Nobis, a sophomore journalism major, said. “He’s a talented artist, and I think he has a bright future.” 

Chance the Rapper’s 2013 mixtape “Acid Rap” made it to No. 63 on the Billboard rap charts. 

He has since collaborated with Justin Bieber, Skrillex and Childish Gambino, among others. 

“He’s in the genre of alternative rap, which really appeals to college students. Hip hop, as a whole, is becoming more of an indie movement, which is something college kids relate to,” Nobis said. “Chance’s flow and his style are different than anyone else. He’s bluesy. Plus, he’s our age.” 

The 21-year-old rapper debuted a new single last week titled “No Better Blues” to almost entirely positive reviews from Spin Magazine, Slate and Pitchfork.

“He’s unique,” said senior computer science major Philipp Wade, a former Black Squirrel Radio host. “In that new song, he just sits down and lists off everything he hates. Parts of it are totally acapella. No one else would do something like that.” 

At the show, Chance will be performing after opening acts Sweater Beats and Young & Sick.

“Hip hop is really a part of all of our lives,” Nobis said. “It gets into the way we dress, the way we talk. Rappers are contributing to culture, and Chance is one of the people treating rap like an art form.”

Balcony tickets are still on sale for the Oct. 23 show at the M.A.C. Center. For students, tickets will cost $15. For non-students, tickets are $30. Doors will open at 7 p.m.

Contact Brittany Rees at [email protected].