Chance The Rapper Pays Tribute to Muhammad Ali With New Song at 2016 ESPYs
ESPN aired its annual award show, The ESPYs, Wednesday night (July 13), what amounts to the slowest day on the sports calendar, when baseball, basketball, football and hockey are all out of session. The evening is a time to reflect on the sports moments that brought cheers and the struggles that brought pain, with many of the biggest names in sports and entertainment coming out to participate.
This year's ceremony was hosted by John Cena and included tributes to fallen sports legends Pat Summitt and Muhammad Ali. The latter was carried out by Chance The Rapper, who performed an unreleased song in honor of the boxing champ. The performance featured Jamila Woods, Peter Cottontale, Teddy Jackson and Donnie Trumpet, Chance in a black suit and his own Chance 3 hat. It opens with audio clips of Ali that sound as relevant as when he spoke them, lines like, "When I get out of boxing I want to do all I can to help people" reflecting some of the dire circumstances Americans find themselves in today.
The song itself is a slowly sung tribute, the hook drawing upon the huge cultural impact Ali had with regard to religion, peace and freedom. "I was a rock / I was a rock and roller / Back in my day / But now I’m just a rock," it goes. Elsewhere, Chance exclaims, "Ain't nowhere greater, ain't nowhere brighter / Ain't nowhere better, better, better / Ain't no one prettier, ain't no one wiser / Ain't no one better."
Afterward, Chance tweeted that the opportunity was an honor and his ability to handle the moment with such gravitas reflects what has already been a banner year for the independent rapper. His songwriting is proving to be transcendent, a star on the rise paying his respects to the greatest star sports may ever know. Watch Chance's tribute up above.
He also guest starred on an excellent new song by Jamila Woods called "LSD," which serves as a tribute to Chicago. Don't miss that track.
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