It was back in 2007 that Kanye first appeared on the Ottawa Bluesfest stage, one of their first ventures into featuring hip hop acts at the festival. Despite the controversy back then of putting Kanye on the stage, Bluesfest directors were still eager about bringing him back again. There was a 2000-signature petition and much attempts to “boycott” the rapper from headlining the event which was greatly outweighed by the 25,000+ people who attended last night.
Much to our surprise, there were no crazy antics, no long rants, and no frills. It was a more humbled performance as it was just spotlights and the rapper named Kanye– it was perfect. The show went through a stellar setlist, heavily influenced by classic Kanye tracks, sprinkled with some newer stuff. Kanye took moments in his performance to extend gratitude to his fans; “I really appreciate y’all”, he said, “I want you to tell your kids about this one day, I want you to remember this night”. He also took a second moment to speak kind words about Chance the Rapper, after ‘Through the Wire’, saying he is “one of the most talented young, new artists” and “as far as the way that man’s mind works and the way those rhymes work together, it’s some next level shit”. After telling the crowd “they’re telling me I’m running out of time so I gotta get through these songs quick”, Kanye powered through more classics to hype the crowd like ‘Can’t Tell Me Nothin’, ‘N—-s In Paris’, and ‘Run This Town’. Despite being out of time, his set ran about 20 minutes longer to compensate for his watch being set on rapper time (but we’re not complaining). He ended off on an emotional note with ‘Only One’, a song written from the perspective of his late mother. Despite the negative air surrounding Kanye’s impending descent onto Ottawa, it was an incredible performance laden with energy, love, and a little bit of cockiness (I mean, come on, it’s Kanye).
Preceding Kanye’s performance was a rapper out of the same city, Chicago, Chance the Rapper. Relatively new to the mainstream scene with two mixtapes and his debut album ‘Surf’ released in May. Regardless of being somewhat of a rookie to those not privy to hip hop music, Chance still has an impressive following. Backed up by a full jazz band, the artistry of rap music was definitely not lost upon this performance. Chance filled the stage with so much charisma that drew you in and made you stay. Despite being an “opener” for the headliner that night, Chance put himself in a league all on his own and gave a performance worth talking about.
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