Chicago native Chance the Rapper provided a soulful outro to the 2016 ESPY Awards ceremony — and late icon Muhammad Ali— on Wednesday night.
Chance, whose birth name is Chancellor Bennett, is a native of the Chatham neighborhood on the South Side who often reps his hometown sports teams. The ESPN-backed sports awards ceremony was studded with tributes to Ali, capped by a gospel inflected performance by Chance that would have fit in nicely on the rapper’s recent hit album, “Coloring Book.”
Chance sent out a steady stream of tweets throughout the day Wednesday, including a Vine video clip of the rapper and Best Male Athlete winner Steph Curry of the Golden State Warriors dancing in Temptations-like sync backstage. Chance did not mention whether he asked Curry if the 2015-2016 Warriors 73-9 record was a greater achievement than 1995-1996 Bulls 72-10 season.
Chance attended Jones College Prep High School in the South Loop.
“Coloring Book,” his third solo project, was released in May and featured fellow Chicago rap icon Kanye West on the opening track “All We Got.”
Even Chicagoans without ESPN have had ample opportunity to see a Chance the Rapper performance in recent weeks. He has also performed with The Roots at the Taste of Chicago and the Mamby on the Beach festival on the lakefront on the South Side.