Chance The Rapper’s Tribute is GOAT Worthy

Photo: Kevin Mazur (Getty Images)

The biggest and brightest sports stars were out at last night’s 2016 ESPY’s, but it was a diminutive rapper who stole the show. Chance the Rapper closed down the surprisingly inspiring and always entertaining cable sport’s awards show with a tribute song that was worthy of “The Greatest.” Muhammed Ali, who died in June after a 32-year battle with Parkinson’s disease, featured prominently in the as-yet-untitled song, which was peppered with the heavyweight champion and social activist’s audio clips and powered by the Chicago MC’s unique blend of hip-hop and gospel. Backed by a full choir that included frequent collaborators Jamila Woods, Donnie Trumpet, and Peter Cottontale, Chance showed off why he could one day become the GOAT himself as he alternately spit/sang into a hanging boxing ring microphone. 

The outspoken and brash rapper, hot on the heels of his transcendent and critically-acclaimed Coloring Book album, which Kanye praised as “a gospel album with a whole lot of cursing on it,” fits the free-thinking Ali mold by having refused to sign with a major label, but can still find a nice balance between being serious and playful as evidence by the fun and games he engaged in with the Golden State Warriors’ Steph Curry before he went on-stage.