Almost everyone has a celebrity they're a fan of. The world of social media has shrunk the distance between famous people and celebs, but there is still a feeling of inaccessibility there. In the world of rap, where coming off as personable and passionate about fans is important, there is power in getting closer to the people. Over the past few years, rappers have found ways to show their fans love, whether it's calling, texting or meeting them in person, all at unexpected times. The same social media that brings a fan closer to the artist is the same vehicle that allows the world to see artists meet some of their biggest supporters.
Of course, there are two recent moments where rappers met up with their fans. In early January, Lil Uzi Vert hopped out on some of his young fans who happened to be making a TikTok to his leaked song "Tap Tap." He danced with the group of kids and turned a regular moment between friends into something rare. Uzi's reputation for randomly popping up and hanging out with fans has existed for years and clearly lives on now. On the other side, YoungBoy Never Broke Again invited fans to his house for a snowball fight on Jan. 5. A video shoot he was planning was held up by a snowstorm. YB throwing snowballs (and getting hit by them) with fans who are just happy to meet him is refreshing. It illustrates the power of artists and a more personal side in the life of a rap star.
In other endearing moments, some rappers opted to head back home to create a big experience for their fans. Lil Baby decided to head back to his high school, Booker T. Washington (the same school as close friend Young Thug), in 2020. Giving out scholarships and performing for the students and faculty, the hometown hero made the most of his time there and took giving back seriously. Aitch, a successful U.K. rapper, also went back to his home of Manchester, England, to perform at a local Subway. For the day, the store was now SubwAitch, a place where Aitch could rap and kick it with his adoring fans. There's really no place like home.
Check out the list below for more footage of rappers surprising their fans.
NLE Choppa Surprises Fan at Children's Hospital
Last year, a young child named AJ posted a TikTok clip where he shared, that among other things on his wishlist, he wanted to meet NLE Choppa. AJ has scoliosis and heart disease, so he is in a Texas children's hospital. NLE Choppa, displaying his heart of gold, built a friendship with the kid through his mother, texting and FaceTiming him.
NLE Choppa decided to take it a step further, surprising AJ in his hospital room in a Santa Claus outfit. He bought plenty off the gifts from AJ's wishlist (with some bonuses mixed in), including a PS5. He also spent some time with AJ. The happiness that the child shows is heartwarming and the moment lives on through a YouTube video in which Choppa documents his trip to the hospital and his time with AJ.
Chance The Rapper Pretends to Be Lyft Driver
From day one of his career, Chance The Rapper has been vocal about how much he loves his hometown of Chicago. He blended surprising fans and supporting home when he masqueraded as a driver for the rideshare app Lyft, complete with a sunglasses and hat disguise. He hid his identity for most of the ride, and revealed himself by the end, much to the riders' delight. The trips raised money for his Chance Fund, which supports education in Chicago.
Lil Baby Returns to His Former High School
One of Atlanta's brightest stars, Lil Baby not only excels in the booth, but also with his sense of charity. Back in 2020, he visited his old high school, Booker T. Washington, for a surprise performance where he also gave out college scholarships. The students loved it and Baby made it a point to share the importance of them seeing him up close, a reminder that they can make it far, just like he did.
King Von Pops Up on Fans' Instagram Live
King Von, the late and celebrated Chicago rapper, appreciated his fans, frequently hopping on Instagram Live to kick it with them. Building a relationship with his supporters through his heavy online presence only increased his popularity. One day in 2020, a group of his fans were hosting their own Instagram Live, when he joined and watched. After they noticed him, he actually joined the live and appeared on video, greeting the fans as they rapped along to his music and screamed in excitement.
50 Cent Surprises Fans on Jimmy Kimmel Live!
Throughout his career as both a rapper and an entertainment mogul, 50 Cent has built a reputation as one of the tougher, meaner guys in hip-hop. In 2017, late-night talk show Jimmy Kimmel Live! decided to play off that. Their camera crew headed to Hollywood Boulevard. and asked random people on the street what they thought of 50 Cent, saying that different magazines called him the greatest rapper of all time. Most of them gave Fif his props, but didn't agree with him being at the top of the list. As they answer, Fif comes out of a door behind them and waits for them to turn around and see him (or he lets them knows he's there). After a lot of laughs, hugs, explanations and a couple changed answers, some great TV is born.
Lil Uzi Vert Dances With Fans
At this point, Lil Uzi Vert is known for popping up and having fun with the fans. Back at it again, Uzi went viral recently when they hopped out of a car and started dancing with a group of teens as they recorded a TikTok. The moment is notable due to the fact that they were playing Uzi's leaked song "Tap Tap" and he happened to be in the area, in what looks like New York.
YoungBoy Never Broke Again Hosts Snowball Fight at His Home
Making the best of a situation is what YoungBoy Never Broke Again in early January. He was shooting a video at his Utah home and a snowstorm kind of threw things out of wack. So YB invited his fans over for a snowball fight. The moment caught on camera shows the rapper getting hit but taking it all in fun. The experience is one the fans surely weren't expecting when they woke up that morning.
Drake and J. Cole FaceTime Cancer Patient
Getting to share a moment with their favorite artists can make someone's day. In the world of Elijah Williams, an 11-year old with cancer in Virginia's Children's Hospital of The King's Daughters, wanted to meet Drake. The Weeknd and J. Cole. Just a few days before his death in late May of 2020, the young boy got his wish. His mother, Kiara Swope, posted a video of The Weeknd, plus still photos of Drake and J. Cole, all talking to her son through FaceTime. These three superstars taking time to make a difference in a young fan's life is important and shows what kind of people they are outside the music.
Post Malone Goes Undercover at Record Store
In order to raise money for charity and promote a contest where the winner will win a Bentley (promoting his 2018 album, Beerbongs and Bentleys, get it?), Post Malone went undercover as a record store salesman. He attempted to blend in with his disguise of a hat and glasses, but that didn't work the first time. As time goes on, he gets away with hiding his identity, and uses that to tell various customers that Post Malone's music "sucks," even offering his album at a discount. He eventually bumps into a small child and his mom, the young fan reveals that he likes Post's song "Better Now," having no idea he's talking to the artist in question. Post then removes his disguise and surprises the child.
In September 2016, DJ Khaled tried his hand at driving for Lyft, in a disguise. For someone as recognizable and famous as he is, that was no easy task, but he put his best foot forward. Armed with a hat and dark sunglasses, he made references to his song "I Got The Keys" through puns (and actually mentioning the song), asking people if DJ Khaled was their favorite mogul and more. At the end, he told each rider who he really was, with pretty much all of them being shocked and surprised.
Nelly Gives Fan His Jacket
Nelly became a superstar in rap in the early 2000s, then later on crossed over to the world of country and found continued success. After a performance at Charlotte Motor Speedway in October of 2022, Nelly stopped and gave a fan, Jake Lemke, who was in a wheelchair with Lesch-Nyhan syndrome, the jacket off his back. Lesch-Nyhan syndrome is a metabolic disorder. The moment was captured on camera, and the joy on both Jake and Nelly's faces jumps off the screen.
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J. Cole Goes to Fan's College Graduation
Sometimes, the loyalty of a fan to an artist and vice versa turns into an actual friendship. Way back in 2013, Cierra Bosarge-Fussell called a radio station, seeking a happy birthday wish from J. Cole. Months later, Cole arranged for the two to meet in Philadelphia; it was there that she handed him a letter detailing her personal struggles and a request.
Cierra shared that she was an adopted child with two parents with substance abuse problems—both of them being in prison at the time. She wanted Cole to attend her high school graduation in place of her parents. Cole agreed to show up on one condition: that she perform well in school and get accepted to a four-year college. She held up her end, and Cole was there for her graduation. The rapper popped up again in 2022, when Cierra graduated from Rowan University, cheering her on as she crossed the stage. Cole both stayed in touch and stuck to his word; what a stand-up guy.
Lil Pump Gives Fan His Shoes
Lil Pump's career took off because of his connection to the youth. He still has that pull today. This month, he offered a teen his shoes (Air Force 1s) solely because the fan liked them. Pump took the kicks off his feet, gave them to the young fan and signed them while turning down offers of money or other shoes. He chose to walk around barefoot to make a fan happy.
XXXTentacion Visits Fan at Home
Before his death in 2018, XXXTentacion was known for consistently engaging with his fans. A few years ago, he made a video for a fan in he told him happy birthday, then shared that he would see him soon. In disbelief, the fan, Junior, was shown the video by what seemed to be a family member and realized that X was coming to visit. Shortly after, X came through the door, sharing a long hug with Junior and proving that he keeps his promises.
Aitch Surprises Fans by Performing at Subway
Artist rollouts continue to get more and more creative. Back in 2021, U.K. rapper Aitch, who has been pretty big for years now, took over a Subway (the sandwich chain) in his hometown of Manchester, England. Revealing a sign that read "Subwaitch," he then did a surprise performance inside the store as the fans watched and took in the special moment.