Featured in TIME’s 100 Most Influential People list, Chance The Rapper is making waves in the music industry for his music and philanthropic work. Common is reminiscing on giving advice to his fellow Chicago MC in a supporting essay. According to Common, he was hooked up with the Coloring Book rapper by his grandmother, who asked him to call her friend’s grandson.
“Years ago, my grandmother asked me to call her friend’s grandson. ‘I want you to give him some words of encouragement,’ he said to TIME. ‘He wants to be a rapper.’ She gave me his number, and I left him a message. I told him to keep following his dreams. Then I forgot all about it.”
Common only realized years later that the young man he had left the message for was Chance the Rapper, when his teenage daughter played him a mixtape.
“There was something unique and soulful about it - I could tell he really knew hip-hop. And when I first met him, I realized that he knew me too. ‘You won’t remember this,’ he said, ‘but you called me when I was a kid.”
Chance recently turned 24 and has made himself one of the biggest names in hip-hop since that fateful phone call. He has a few Grammys under his belt but has remained an independent artist, and also contributes to his community in Chicago.
“Chance upends expectations about what artists, especially hip-hop artists, can do,” Common further said. “He streams his albums instead of selling them. He makes music from an unapologetically inspiring and Christian perspective - music that transcends age, race and gender. He gives back to his Chicago community. And he does it all as an independent artist, without the support of a label. I’m glad Chance followed his dreams. I hope he always does.”
The Chicago Sun Times reports that the rapper is listed in the “pioneers” category and others on the list include Donald Trump, Samantha Bee, Ivanka Trump, Jordan Peele, Emma Stone, Ava DuVernay, James Corden, Kerry James Marshall, Tom Brady, Simone Biles and Viola Davis.