Chicago’s black boy joy advocate and young rap prodigy Chance the Rapper has made a huge name for himself among hip-hop’s new school circle in all of 2017.
And after his latest milestone without even 25 years of age under his belt, he’s not just Lil Chano from 79th — he’s Chance the Rapper of TIME’s 100 Most Influential People.
Penned by iconic rap veteran and Chance’s fellow Chicagoan Common, Chance is fittingly praised for his barrier-breaking success in hip-hop after an inspiring anecdote. Common recounts a time in Chance’s pre-fame years where his grandmother asked him to share some guiding words for her friend’s grandson. That grandson, Common would soon learn, turned out to be the 24-year-old Coloring Book hip-hop artist.
Years later, he continues in his recollection, Common’s teenage daughter played one of Chance’s tracks that he found “unique and soulful,” and upon his first meeting with the young artist, he also learned that his simple “keep following your dreams” advice shared with Chance years ago would prove far more valuable than he expected.
“Chance upends expectations about what artists, especially hip-hop artists, can do,” Common raves in his commemoration for Chance’s 100 Most Influential People story. “He streams his albums instead of selling them. He makes music from an unapologetically inspiring and Christian perspective — music that transcends age, race and gender. He gives back to his Chicago community. And he does it all as an independent artist, without the support of a label. I’m glad Chance followed his dreams. I hope he always does.”
— Lil Chano From 79th (@chancetherapper) April 20, 2017
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