Chance the Innovator. The Chicago rapper was honored with the “Innovator of the Year” award at Sunday’s iHeartRadio Music Awards in Los Angeles.
Pharrell Williams presented Chano with the trophy, explaining why the multi-faceted MC is deserving. “To call Chance the Rapper an innovator almost feels like an understatement,” said Skateboard P. “He remains independent, releasing music whenever he feels like it. I know it sounds crazy, but it made him the first streaming-only artist to win three Grammys. And yes, guy’s only 24 and he dresses like [Mario from] one of my favorite video games, ‘Mario Kart.’ Of course he’s an innovator.”
Championing Chance’s $1 million donation to Chicago Public Schools and calling him an “amazing father,” Pharrell welcomed Chano to the stage. “I found out I was getting this Innovator Award,” he said. “With everything that comes my way, I still feel very young and a little undeserving and overwhelmed by a lot of the stuff that happens.”
After thanking P, the “No Problem” rapper opened up about artists that paved the way for him, including James Brown, Ray Charles, Prince, Nicki Minaj, Taylor Swift, and Beyoncé. “I didn’t invent independence in any way,” he said. “I didn’t innovate this idea. I’m following behind a lot of other people and it takes a lot more of us coming together as artists to regain our control and power, as we should have it.”
The iHeartRadio Music Awards also featured performances by Cardi B and G-Eazy, Camila Cabello and Young Thug, and Eminem and Kehlani.
Chance is now working on his debut album to follow a string of projects, including Coloring Book, Acid Rap, and 10 Day.