Earlier this week, it was revealed that Kane Brown was named to the 2021 TIME 100, TIME’s annual list of the 100 most influential people in the world.
The list is selected by TIME’s editors and for the 18th year, the TIME 100 recognizes the impact, innovation and achievement of the world’s most influential individuals.
In honor of Brown’s inclusion on the list, fellow country superstar Darius Rucker penned a heartfelt essay praising Brown and the impact he’s had on country music.
“Kane Brown has that unquantifiable ‘it’ factor,” Rucker’s message began.
He went on to praise Brown for never taking himself too seriously and applaud his vocal abilities in addition to commending him for being a trailblazer as a Black artist in country music.
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Perhaps the biggest compliment Rucker gave Brown was a comparison to the legendary, late Charley Pride.
“I’m sure there are kids looking up to Kane right now just like when I looked up at Charley Pride,” Rucker wrote. “One of the most pivotal moments of my career was when Charley shared some of the lessons he learned over the years with me. Those moments where we learn from country’s past need to continue. Charley opened the door when there were those in the country music industry that tried to close it.”
The GRAMMY-winner also gave a shoutout to other Black country artists such as Mickey Guyton and Jimmie Allen and close his note by sharing his hope for the future of country music.
“Kane is setting the bar so high for the next generation,” he concluded. “I hope kids see him and now think, ‘I can do that.’”
The “One Mississippi” singer took to social media to react to the news, writing, “So honored to be apart of this time 100 🔥 @time and thank you @dariusrucker for writing it, And also my fans for supporting me always ❤️”
To celebrate the TIME 100 list, Brown and musical superstar Billie Eilish will perform on the TIME 100 special, airing September 20 at 10pm ET on ABC.
The 2021 TIME 100 list also includes Shonda Rhimes, Dolly Parton, Simone Biles, Naomi Osaka, Tom Brady, Elon Musk and more.