What do Jay-Z, Kanye West and Alicia Keys have in common with the Dalai Lama, Barack Obama and Martha Stewart? They’re all amongst the 100 most influential people in the world today, according to Time magazine.
In the magazine’s special “Time 100″ issue — on newsstands Monday (April 11) — all three artists made the list, which profiles the “people who shape our world.” Individuals were selected by the editors of Time, and were grouped into five different categories: “Leaders and Revolutionaries,” “Builders and Titans,” “Artists and Entertainers,” “Scientists and Thinkers” and “Heroes and Icons.”
Jay-Z is profiled in the “Builders and Titans” section, alongside such notables as News Corporation honcho Rupert Murdoch and Apple CEO Steve Jobs. Both West and Keys got nods as “Artists and Entertainers,” as did actors like Johnny Depp and Jamie Foxx, and, um, the team that designed the “Halo” video game.
West is praised for “the influence of his medium … as well as the complexity of his message,” while Keys is called “a musical prodigy who, as a teen, had to choose between Columbia University and Columbia Records.” Some of the issue’s profiles were penned by fellow actors and entertainers — Sean Penn writes about Clint Eastwood, Donald Trump opines about Martha Stewart — and Jay-Z’s profile was written by Def Jam co-founder Russell Simmons.
“Jay-Z’s trailblazing contributions to hip-hop culture across America and throughout the world have helped raise the aspirations of millions of people,” Simmons writes. “He has had the courage to tell vivid stories about the realities of the urban experience with the precision of a master therapist.
“At 34, Jay is at the pinnacle of a career that has risen high above his early days in the crucible of Brooklyn’s Marcy projects … today [he] stands center stage with the penetrating sustainability of a living legend,” he continues. “I have seen my man Jay-Z spit a lyric instantaneously, without even having to take a breath. He just naturally does it. He epitomizes what it means to be cool.”
Others on Time’s list include Cleveland Cavaliers star LeBron James, rocker Melissa Etheridge, director Quentin Tarantino and TV host Jon Stewart.