Last night (June 15), Jay Z was inducted into the Songwriters Hall Of Fame. The first MC or Rap artist to receive the honors was not in attendance for the Manhattan ceremony. He and wife Beyoncé are presently awaiting twins. However, Jay’s acceptance speech was replaced with other types of acknowledgements, including his induction into the Hall by the man Jay calls “the greatest rapper of all time.”
By video, 44th President Barack Obama ushered his “friend” Jay into the Songwriters Hall Of Fame:
“I’d like to think Mr. Carter and I understand each other. Nobody who met us as younger men could have expected us to be where we are today. We know what it’s like not to have a father around. We know what it’s like not to come from much, and we know people who didn’t get the same breaks we did. And so we try to prop open those doors of opportunity so that it’s a little easier for those who come up behind us to succeed as well. Jay and I are also fools for our daughters, although he’s gonna have me beat once those two twins show up. And let’s face it, we both have wives who are significantly more popular than we are. Like all of you, I’m a fan, and I’ve been listening to Jay since I was a young and hungry state senator. I sampled his lyrics to close my speech at Selma. I tweeted a reference to ‘My First Song’ as I was putting my finishing touches on the final state of the union address. I had to brush some dirt off my shoulders during a campaign. So I’m pretty sure I’m still the only President to listen to Jay Z’s music in the oval office. That may change at some point, but I’m pretty sure that’s true now. In fact, Jay, you’ve been inspiring in making me want to be active in my retirement like you have been in yours. So I’m going to close with something that Jay once said that struck me: he said ‘I’ve never looked at myself and said that I need to be a certain way to be around a certain sort of people. I’ve always wanted to stay true to myself, and I’ve managed to do that. People have to accept that.’ So with that, I’m proud to help present this award to a true American original, the first Hip-Hop artist to be inducted into the Songwriters Hall Of Fame, Mr. Shawn Carter.”
Warner Chappell Music CEO “Big” Jon Platt received the award on Jay’s behalf. Platt, formerly of EMI, has worked closely with Jay Z on the publishing side since Reasonable Doubt, helping make sure that songwriting is properly administrated.
While Hov was not in the building, he made a rare Twitter appearnce. In the equivalent of a speech acknowledging influences and great peers, Jay tweeted a number of times, as he thanked approximately 100 Hip-Hop peers, name by name.
Here are the tweets, and the complete list or people he thanked follows:
Big Daddy Kane
The Notorious B.I.G.
Chance The Rapper
LL Cool J
De La Soul
Kool G Rap
Grandmaster Melle Mel
Wu-Tang Clan (Raekwon, GZA, and Ghostface Killah also by name)
Slaughterhouse (Joe Budden by name)
Show & A.G.
Nice & Smooth
Digable Planets (Butterfly aka “Ish” by name)
State Property (Beanie Sigel, Young Chris and Freeway by name)
Tyler, The Creator
Also included in the list (in the first tweet) is Jaz-O, Jay Z’s estranged and mentor. The two recorded Jay’s earliest material together in the 1980s, and worked together through the early Roc-A-Fella Records years, before a falling out. There was several artists included in Jay’s list that he’s had varying run-ins with past and possibly present, including Drake, 50 Cent, Lil Wayne, Tupac, Nas, Ab-Soul, and Joe Budden (who, as nickname “Mouse,” Jay singled out within Slaughterhouse).
While it was unclear if Jay was referring to Young Thug or Slim Thug (moments after he appeared to shout out wife Beyoncé as a rapper as well), those were included. He alluded to besting Wu-Tang’s GZA in a battle, as well as what appears to be a similar claim made about Busta Rhymes.
In February, Jay Z created a playlist of his favorite songwriters to commemorate the hall of fame announcement.