Chance the Rapper is very much deserving of his latest accomplishment.
The Chicago rapper, 24, received the iHeartRadio Innovator Award for his “groundbreaking accomplishments in the music industry and his unsurpassable contributions to social causes” during the 2018 iHeartRadio Music Awards on Sunday night.
“I found out I was getting this Innovator Award, and I still — 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,” Chance said during his acceptance speech.
“I asked my man Pat why they would be honoring me, and we had a conversation about musical identity, musical liberation, independence and freedom, and that’s something that we’ve stood on for a long time,” he continued. “That’s something that we didn’t create though; we didn’t innovate that idea. Musicians were free when this whole thing started.”
He went on to “to shout out some people that helped me lead the path that I’m on now,” including James Brown, Ray Charles, Prince and a host of contemporary female artists like Nicki Minaj, Taylor Swift and Beyoncé.
“I didn’t invent independence in any way,” Chance added. “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.”
In addition to breaking barriers in his career, the rapper — born Chancelor Bennett — has lent a hand to the youth throughout Chicago through his charity SocialWorks, aimed at “empowering youth through the arts, education, and civic engagement while fostering leadership, accessibility, and positivity.”
In December, the Grammy Award-winning musician surprised public school students who were hard at work in class, where he stood alongside executives from Google’s charitable arm to announce a $1.5 million donation to Chicago Public Schools, which will help teachers implement computer science and arts curriculum in their classrooms.
“I’m committed to help Chicago’s children have quality learning experiences that include the arts,” the rapper said at an elementary school on Chicago’s South Side in March 2017 when he donated $1 million to CPS. “As an artist and after-school teacher, I know the arts are invaluable. They teach kids lessons about how small efforts can have big effects and how collaboration can lead to creativity. This check is a call to action. I’m challenging major companies in Chicago and across the U.S. to donate and take action.”
In addition to his recognition for being an innovator in the industry, the rapper was also nominated for best remix for “May I Have This Dance” in collaboration with Francis & The Lights and Best Music Video for DJ Khaled’s hit “I’m the One” featuring Justin Bieber, Quavo and Lil Wayne.
Additionally, Bon Jovi will receive the iHeartRadio Icon Award to celebrate their 35-year career, while Camila Cabello will be presented with the iHeartRadio Fangirls Award, which recognizes a female artist for pushing musical boundaries, as well as being an inspiration to fans around the world.
The 2018 iHeartRadio Music Awards airs live from The Forum in Los Angeles at 8 p.m. ET/5 p.m. PT on TBS, TNT and truTV.