Back outside the Fillmore, Pat The Manager and Danny decide to check into a hotel and park the RV while the rest of the team goes out. On the way to Sweetwater Tavern, a Detroit wing spot, the group attracts fans who found their way to the artist area after the show: girls that Oreo is chasing, guys who accompanied them, and a few random kids in their late teens or early 20s. Sweetwater is the kind of restaurant that plays Young Jeezy at full blast on a Tuesday evening. Two long tables are pushed together and everyone orders food. Chance seems more interested in catching up with his old friends than making new ones. After everyone’s eaten, he makes his move, leaving the hangers-on behind.
Someone has obtained cards for free entrance to The Office, a strip club in downtown Detroit. Now reduced to a core group—Chance, keyboardist Peter, bearded Nate, school homie Justin, and two girls Chance knows from Chicago—the crew enters the sleepy club. It’s half empty, a dark room with one guy sitting at a table, literally asleep. No one recognizes Chance, aside from one of the club’s employees, a man with an expensive-looking chain hanging around his neck. But the arrival of a group of younger people stirs the strippers to life, as they make their way past the jaded regulars. One of the women latches onto Peter, while another, who goes by the name Cash and has the word “money” tattooed on her right breast, gives Chance a lap dance. Nate heads to the ATM, only to find out that the fee is $10; he decides against making a withdrawal.
Around $60 in drinks and tips later and it’s 2 a.m.: closing time. Unfulfilled, Chance and company add Deja Vu, a strip club with later hours, to the itinerary. Piling into Chance’s friend’s car—the group is slightly too large for the number of available seats—they’re off again, driving eight miles outside of downtown while blasting Rich Homie Quan’s “Type of Way,” the unofficial anthem of this leg of the tour. Upon arrival, the group discovers that the strip club has an $11 cover. Unwilling to take on that expense, everyone stuffs back into the car, and hits the highway back to the hotel.
“[My dad] picked me up from the hospital. It was a really crazy situation that we went through,” says Chance. “And from then, we just valued each other a lot more. He really started taking my music seriously.”
The following morning, after airing out the RV, the crew begins the three-hour drive around Lake Erie from Detroit to Cleveland for another show that evening. Sitting in the backseat, Chance shifts the convo to a new hobby he’s taken up: skydiving. He talks about jumping out of an airplane thousands of feet in the air, and how, after pulling the cord, he goes from hurtling at terminal velocity to floating in a kind of perfect serenity. Pat The Manager isn’t quite as excited about this new activity as Chance is. Up in the plane his first time, Pat backed down. “I was just like—I don’t have to do this,” he laughs. But Chance loves the thrill.
On the road, some folks snooze, while Chance passes time watching Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind on a laptop with headphones. (He loves the score.) Once the crew arrives at Cleveland’s House of Blues, Peter sets up his production equipment and a laptop in the dressing room. He’s putting together a loop with a vague ’80s R&B vibe, claiming Bobby Caldwell as inspiration. Chance begins writing to the beat, reciting a singsong melody and filling in lyrics.
Hours later, Chance trots out on the House of Blues stage. Compared to his reception in Detroit, the outpouring of energy from the fans in Cleveland feels significantly higher. (Pat theorizes that the audience at the Cleveland show is demographically closer to Chicago—meaning, less suburban than the crowd in Detroit.) During the outro of his set, prior to dropping the “Versace” remix, Chance throws in a fan favorite from 10 Day, “Fuck You Tahm Bout,” which uses the instrumental to Waka Flocka’s “Fuck Dis Industry,” an appropriate selection given Chance’s ambivalent approach to the rap business. Sometimes he weighs his interest in movies. He’d like to direct, he says, or maybe go to college instead of rapping. But then he comes to his senses and realizes that there’s nothing he’d rather be doing right now.
Most of the Cleveland crowd seems to have come on board with Acid Rap. They’re not too familiar with the older song. Chance’s brief performance of the track feels like a measure of his confidence in that moment. Afterward he bursts into the dressing room fresh from the stage, shirtless, and starts freestyling over a beat that Peter is playing on a loop, free-associating on topics ranging from his social media feedback to his DJ’s gymnastic history: “A comment on my Instagram said I was dressed classy/I said ‘Hey, why don’t I drop another classic?/Why don’t I get high and record over a classic?’/With my nigga who do backflips.”
After the show, one of Nate’s friends meets up with the crew, and they pile into her car for a run to a near-empty mall for some Taco Bell. In the parking lot, they lean against the car, eating chalupas while Rich Homie Quan plays in the background. Hunger sated, they return to downtown Cleveland, park the car, and start walking down the street. Suddenly Chance takes a flying leap and lands on the air vents embedded in the sidewalk. “Every time I get over one of those, I jump as hard as I can on that shit,” he says matter-of-factly. “Just on some, what if I died, falling through a city grate? Guess that’s just the way I’m supposed to die.” Reckless youth? Sure. Some might call this taking chances. Some would say Chance is taking off.
ADDITIONAL CREDITS: (STYLING) Matthew Henson. (GROOMING) Katelyn Simkins. (CLOTHING) OPENING SPREAD: Sweatshirt by Won Hundred / Pants by Zanerobe / Hat throughout by Society Original Products / Bracelet Chance's own. FOLLOWING SPREAD: Jacket by Surface to Air / T-shirt Chance's own. THIS SPREAD: Hoodie by Christopher Kane / Jeans by Won Hundred /Sneakers and socks Chance's own.