Watch Chance The Rapper cover Stevie Wonder at NPR Music’s Tiny Desk

Chance The Rapper at NPR Music’s Tiny Desk | photo by Claire Harbage for NPR

Imagine how good a Chance The Rapper Tiny Desk performance would be. Now multiply that goodness by at least ten, and that’ll give you the performance’s true value. Chance stopped by the NPR Music offices last month and took the acoustic session series to places it hadn’t seen before. His quick set, out on NPR Music’s site Wednesday, consisted of one tune from his world-dominating 2016 release Coloring Book, one poem he wrote on his way to the office that day and one Stevie Wonder cover. Continue reading →


Firefly on the Fly, Day Three: Chance the Rapper, Bob Dylan, Mondo Cozmo, Kesha, Bishop Briggs, DJ Jazzy Jeff and more

Chance The Rapper | Firefly Music Festival 2017 | Photos by John Vettese

Day Three of the Firefly Music Festival brought out superstar performances from Bob Dylan, Chance The Rapper, and The Weeknd, but it also brought out some of Philly’s finest including Mondo Cozmo, Chill Moody, Hardwork Movement, Vita and the Woolf, and a DJ set from the legendary DJ Jazzy Jeff. Some great sets by Bishop Briggs, Sunflower Bean, and Kesha. Continue reading →


Happy Holidays from Chance the Rapper! Listen to his Merry Christmas Lil Mama EP

Chance the Rapper | photo by Cameron Pollack for WXPN

Chance the Rapper capped off his year, or so we thought, last week, by tearing up Studio 8H; surrounded by artificial snowflakes and some of his best friends he got even the scroogiest of folks into the Christmas spirit after performing “Same Drugs” and “Finish Line/Drown,” and celebrating our last Christmas with Barack Obama.

He decided his year needed a tree-topper however, so he and Jeremih dropped Merry Christmas Lil Mama, a Christmas mixtape dedicated to all the black women back in Chicago; if you need a little hip hop and R&B added to your Christmas playlists, look no further than here. The tape serves dual function; instrumentally, it has the jovial, warmhearted nature of every other Christmas album, but also is grounded in the realities and stressors of the season. You always wind up having to buy a lot of gifts for a lot of people, you always wind up reflecting on the mistakes you made, you long for your loved ones, and especially in 2016’s case, you really just want the whole thing over with as quickly as possible. Continue reading →


Watch Chance the Rapper totally own last night’s SNL in sketches and songs

Chance the Rapper on SNL | still from video
Chance the Rapper on SNL | still from video

Typically, Saturday Night Live’s final episode of the year is massive. It’s where the writers, players and guests pull out all the stops before taking a month off. And last night was no exception, particularly on the musical front.

Chicago hip-hop king Chance the Rapper – whose excellent Coloring Book was recently named The Key’s top album of 2016 – made his return to Studio 8H after debuting on the show just over a year ago. Backed by a glorious big band, Chance performed “Finish Line / Drown” from Coloring Book with guest vocals from fellow Chi-town rapper Noname and “Same Drugs” with a surprise piano solo from Francis & The Lights.

Chance also showed up in two sketches — he’s in D.M.C. attire for Keenan Thompson’s digital short “Jingle Barack,” spoofing Run D.M.C.’s “Christmas in Hollis” — with the lyrics instead taking a comical look at the final Christmas with President Barack Obama in office.

He also appears for a quick moment in a Christmas pageant sketch alongside host Casey Affleck and cast members Kate McKinnon and Cecily Strong.

Listen to Chance the Rapper’s Coloring Book here.


Chance the Rapper, David Bowie top nomination list for 59th annual Grammy Awards

Chance to Rapper at Made In America | Photo by Cameron Pollack for WXPN
Chance the Rapper at Made In America | Photo by Cameron Pollack for WXPN

Nominations for the 59th annual Grammy Awards were announced this morning, ramping up excitement for the February 12th ceremony.

As expected Adele has received several nominations including Record of the Year and Song of the Year for “Hello,” while her third LP 25 is up for Album of the Year and Best Pop Vocal Album.

Chance the Rapper and Anderson.Paak will vie for Best New Artist, with the former appearing again on both the Best Rap Performance shortlist for “No Problem” and the Best Rap Album shortlist for Coloring Book, while the latter’s Malibu appears in the Best Urban Contemporary group against Firefly Music Festival stand out Gallant and his Ology.

Continue reading →


Rihanna, Coldplay, Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros, Chance The Rapper, Grimes, Car Seat Headrest + more playing Made In America

Coldplay | press photo by Julia Kennedy

Here’s your Made In America lineup: Coldplay, Rihanna, Chance The Rapper, Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros, DJ Khaled, Jamie XX, Gary Clark, Jr., Lil Uzi Vert, Gallant, Car Seat Headrest, Kevin Devine, Aaron West & The Roaring Twenties, Grimes, ColleGrove (Lil Wayne and 2 Chainz) and more.

It’s happening September 3rd and 4th on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway.

Tickets go on sale Wednesday, June 22nd through Tidal at 10 a.m. General public on-sale is June 27th at 10 a.m. Continue reading →


Governor’s Ball Day Two: The Strokes, Jack White, RJD2, Spoon, and more

Photo by Rachel Barrish |
Photo by Rachel Barrish |

Yesterday we took our places in the crowd at New York’s Randall’s Island for day two of Governor’s Ball, catching everything from garage punk to hip-hop, electronic music and bluesy rock and roll.

Diarrhea Planet | Photo by Rachel Barrish |
Diarrhea Planet | Photo by Rachel Barrish |

Nashville, Tennessee noise rockers, Diarrhea Planet brought their energy, and flexibility to the stage on Saturday afternoon.

RJD2 | Photo by Rachel Barrish |
RJD2 | Photo by Rachel Barrish |

Ramble John Krohn, aka Philly’s RJD2, tuned up the turn tables at Gov Ball. Today he’s spinning pop-up sets on the ferry to Randall’s Island.

Lucius | Photo by Rachel Barrish |
Lucius | Photo by Rachel Barrish |

The ladies of Lucius emerged on stage in their sequin dresses and alien-like sunglasses to a packed crowd bringing their indie pop energy. They are another band we can’t wait to see at XPoNential Fest next month. Continue reading →


Reimagine “Life Round Here” with Ellie Goulding and Angel Haze

Ellie Goulding and Angel Haze | Photo via

There’s a certain kind of beauty in unlikely (and surprisingly good) collaborations. This time it’s UK pop songstress Ellie Goulding teaming up with up-and-coming Detroit rapper Angel Haze for a new spin on James Blake and Chance the Rapper‘s spooky “Life Round Here (Remix)”.

The track was originally featured on Blake’s Overgrown LP which earned him a Grammy nomination for Best New Artist this year. With her distinct breathy pipes, Goulding shines and creates the atmosphere for the fire Angel Haze (who recently released her album Dirty Gold) spits in her impressive verse. Chance the Rapper recently told NME that he and Blake were moving in together to make more magic. Based on the brilliance of this cover, it wouldn’t be a bad idea for Ellie and Angel Haze to do the same. Get tickets to Ellie Goulding’s March 14th show at the Liacouras Center here.

(Hear More – Ellie Goulding goes unplugged for Free at Noon)

UPDATE: And so we thought the story ended here. Two excellent contemporary pop artists, one solid collaboration, something our contributor Katrina Murray dug up in her regular music digging for The Key. Show coming up to make it timely; good stuff all around, yeah? Then I saw a tweet in our direction from Ryan Schwabe aka ONEdependent from the Philly / Brooklyn production duo Subglo. “You forgot to add ‘made in Philly'” he wrote.

I re-tweeted his comment, not entirely sure what it meant, and that led to us exchanging Twitter messages about the background.

“Life Round Here” was produced by Schwabe and Noah Beresin aka Noah Breakfast (previously known as Xaphoon Jones of Chiddy Bang) in West Philly for Schwabe’s raremp3 production company. They previously worked with Spank Rock, and the band Wet, and got their start mixing Goulding’s cover of the Alt-J hit “Tessellate” last summer. That led to this more recent collaboration. The more you know, right? Dig on “Tessellate” here. -John Vettese, editor, The Key


James Blake unleashes video for “Life Round Here” Remix featuring Chance the Rapper (Blake plays Union Transfer 11/04)

james blake
Singer-songwriter/producer James Blake has released his new video for his collaboration with Chance the Rapper on the “Life Round Here” remix. The original track is featured on Blake’s latest LP, Overgrown. A sense of trespassing is felt as Blake and Chance ride around and attract stares from everyone they pass on the streets. This eerie feeling is enhanced by the black-and-white effect, Blake’s airy vocals, and Chance as he warns: “save yourself first”. Watch the two discuss their collaboration and see the spooky product below.