The only thing more historic than Jay Z becoming the first rapper to be inducted into the Songwriters Hall Of Fame is the fact that the first Black President of the United States introduced him.
Our forever POTUS, Barack Obama, paid homage to Hov with a touching video message during the 2017 ceremony, describing their nearly decade old bond. “I like to think Mr. Carter and I understand each other. Nobody who met us as younger men would have expected us to be where we are today,” he said in the video.
The former commander-in-chief went on to compare his upbringing to Jay’s, saying, “We know what it’s like not to have a father around, we know what it’s like not to come from much, and to know people who didn’t get the same breaks that we did. 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.” He continued on, joking about the powerful women in their lives, adding, “Jay and I are also fools for our daughters, although he’s going to have me beat once those twins show up. And let’s face it, we both have wives who are significantly more popular than we are.”
Obama recalled, “Like all of you, I am 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 my State of the Union address. I was brushing dirt off my shoulders during a campaign. I’m pretty sure I’m 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 it’s true now.”
Hov was not in attendance at the New York City ceremony and instead, Chairman/CEO of Warner/Chappell Music Jon Platt accepted the award on his behalf. Rumor has it, the legend flew to Los Angeles to be by his wife Beyoncé’s side as she reportedly prepared to give birth to her twins, who the world would come to know as Rumi and Sir Carter.
Congrats again, Jigga!
This post was originally published June 16, 2017.