|Chancellor Warhol at the Andy Warhol Museum, 8/23/14. All photos (c) PMR.|
Chancellor Warhol, Nashville MC and namesake of Andy Warhol, performed at the artist's museum Saturday with some artistry of his own.
It was a short, rapid fire set, barely 40 minutes long. Chance performed without a hype man but rather a drummer/keyboardist. He opened with "Collapse," the lead track from his new album, Paris is Burning. "Otherside," a song Chance wrote the day after he opened for Kendrick Lamar, was spit out nearly twice as fast as on the album.
Maybe it's best there was no hype man, because Chance would have left him in his wake. Running up and down the aisles, Chance, outfitted in torn jeans, stylish t-shirt, and leather ball cap, sang directly to the fans, slowing down only to thank everyone for coming out.
"Where my dreamers at? This one goes out to all the artists, all the creatives."
Like Andy, Chance stocks his repertoire from the heady stream of pop culture. His songs namecheck the likes of Marlon Brando and Jackie O – both the subject of famous Warhol portraits – as well designer labels, artists, and musicians of all stripes: The Black Keys, van Gogh, Dior, Jay-Z. Musically, he rapped over M83 and quoted Rick Ross in the span of a few minutes.
One rapper I didn't hear mentioned, but seems an obvious parallel, is Kanye West. Yeezy is the (self-proclaimed) standard bearer for that certain haute couture, rapper-as-artist persona. Both artists have a smooth delivery and a tendency to draw out the vowels on certain words. Kanye had "Niggaz in Paris," Chance's new album is called Paris is Burning.
Thankfully, Chance can do Kanye without all the Kanye. There's a genuineness to Chance. He appreciates art and high fashion – he went to school for design, after all - so his lyrics aren't just price-tag braggadocio. Like Andy before him, Chancellor Warhol takes pop culture minutia and elevates it into something profound.
He ended his set "The Kennedy's," a memorable track that ends with Chance shouting the proclamation "keep a black girl in that White House" again and again. Before the track he urged those in the crowd to look him up on Twitter. "I invite you to follow my journey if you find it fits yours."
Here are a few photos from the performance:
-- B. Conway