Belfast Telegraph

Chance the Rapper: Muhammad Ali tribute song was highlight of my year

Chance the Rapper has said that writing and performing a tribute to the late boxer Muhammad Ali at the ESPY Awards was the highlight of a "heart-heavy" year.

Speaking to Huw Stephens for Radio 1, the American artist compared the fighter to his own father and revealed that his death this year "hit me really hard".

He wrote and performed a song in memory of his hero at the Excellence in Sports Performance Yearly awards ceremony in Los Angeles in July.

"I meet still up with my dad just to buy fights on pay-per-view - that was our thing," he said.

"Muhammad Ali was kind of like my dad, I likened him a lot to him, so it hit me really hard when he passed away. 2016 has been a heart-heavy year."

Describing the tribute as the "only redeeming factor" in a year of "weird legislation and elections," Chance, 23, said: "My favourite moment was playing the ESPYs.

"2016, let's be honest, it kind of sucked, a lot of legends passed away."

Summarising his year, the Coloring Book singer also revealed how he still valued his relationship with lifelong friend Barack Obama.

The pair met when Chance was eight and his father, Ken Bennett, worked with Mr Obama on his political campaigns, years before he entered the running for US presidency.

"It is definitely crazy and I feel blessed and lucky to be alive," he said.

"To see a black president and probably the best president in US history in our generation of ironic cool kids."

But he added that the thing he regretted most in life was missing out on the opportunity to marry British singer Jessie Ware.

After meeting her backstage at a Sam Smith concert at Glastonbury, he said: "That was the day I met Jessie Ware, who is the most gorgeous woman in the entire world, no joke.

"She is one of the nicest people I have ever met and she just got engaged a couple of months earlier and, honestly, one of my biggest regrets is being as young as I am and not being able to marry Jessie Ware."

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