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Video: Chance The Rapper Performs New Song At ESPY Awards

By Stephen Gossett in Arts & Entertainment on Jul 14, 2016 1:55PM

Chance the Rapper debuted a new song at Wednesday night's 2016 ESPY awards in a performance honoring the late Muhammad Ali.

Chance was joined by frequent collaborators Donnie Trumpet, Jamila Woods, Peter Cottontale and Teddy Jackson, plus a gospel choir. He performed the as-yet-untitled track against a slideshow backdrop of Ali photos. The iconic boxer and political activist, who spent transformative years in Chicago, died last month. Chance and Ali both share strong ties to Chicago's South Side.

Like most of Chance's work, it's smart, dexterous and unabashedly earnest. "I was a rock, I was a rock 'n' roller / Back in my day / But now I’m just a rock," he sings with nostalgia-tinged wistfulness.

View the poignant video below.

The new track comes on the heels a busy recent stretch for Chance: He appeared on Wednesday in an anti-police brutality video; helped the Roots kick off Taste of Chicago; spurred a new dress code at WhirleyBall; and helped prompt a change in Grammy eligibility rules with his excellent record, Coloring Book.