A Brief, Incomplete History of the Bromance Between Chance the Rapper and Barack Obama

Let This Be Your Happy Place

By Sam Eichner ·
Photo: NurPhoto via Getty Images

Some really awful shit happened this weekend—namely, the abhorrent white supremacist/neo-Nazi/alt-right march through Charlottesville.

And while we shouldn’t lose sight of that event for even a moment, it’s nice to know some good stuff happened, too. Chance the Rapper put on a free concert at the country’s oldest and largest African-American parade in his hometown of Chicago, and former President Barack Obama made a surprise video guest appearance, commending Chance’s devotion to the city’s youth. (Chance has donated $1 million to Chicago Public Schools and has his own local charity, SocialWorks.)

Of course, for anyone keeping score at home—and this would be a weird thing for someone to keep score of—the event was just the latest in a series of appreciatory remarks, compliments and dance-related provocations shared between the rapper and the ex-president over the years.

Herewith, we’ve compiled a short history of their bromance, which we’ve gone ahead and decided for the good of mankind qualifies as a bromance. May it warm your heart to know the feeling is mutual between two of America’s finest human beings.

Sometime in 2001: Chance’s father, Ken Williams-Bennett, was the state director for then-state senator Barack Obama, so the two first met as a matter of course when Chance was just eight years old. From Michelle Obama: “We have known Chance and his family since he was a wee little baby rapper.” Side note: it's about time someone used Wee Little Baby Rapper as a rapper name.

Sometime in 2007-2008
: Chance interns for Obama’s first presidential campaign, which is both very hard and easy to imagine Chance doing. A bromance is born.

April 16, 2016
: Chance, along with Nikki Minaj, Common, Ludacris, DJ Khaled and other artists, met with Obama at the White House to discuss “My Brother’s Keeper,” an initiative focused on helping young men of color get the support and skills they need to succeed. Sure as hell beats that all-star trio of Kid Rock, Ted Nugent and Sarah Palin...

October 18, 2016
: Chance the Rapper ditches his signature hat and more or less challenges the leader of the free world to a dance battle at the State Dinner. Relish in that sentence; let it wash over you. Feel the hard pang of sadness, then feel that sadness melt into happiness. Something this chill happened once in the White House. It can happen again.

December 17, 2016: Chance celebrates one last Christmas with Barack Obama prior to the impending apocalypse of Trump's inauguration in an SNL sketch with Keenan Thompson.

January 6, 2017
: The Obamas throw one last hurrah at the White House. Naturally, they invite Chance, who flies “21 hours to DC” to make the event. To have been a fly on that wall.

April 27, 2017
: Obama puts Chance’s song, “Blessings,” on the Obama Foundation Hometown playlist, because how could he not.

August 12, 2017: Obama commends Chance in a video address at the rapper’s free concert following the annual Bud Billiken Parade in Chicago.

The future: Let's hold on hope that Chance gets Obama to rap on his next album.

Sam Eichner

Sam Eichner likes literature, reality television and his twin cats equally. He has consistently been told he needs a shave since he started growing facial hair.

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