Jay Z has gone from “bricks to Billboard, from grams to Grammys,” and now he’s a bonafide Hall of Famer.
The Brooklyn MC has made history by becoming the first rapper to be inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame. Writers become eligible for induction 20 years after their first big hit — so for Jay Z, that’s his debut album, 1996’s Reasonable Doubt.
Hov made a rare appearance on Twitter to comment on his induction, calling it a victory for rappers everywhere.
Linda Moran, president of the Hall of Fame, told The New York Times that Jay Z was considered for induction last year, but “our board and community wasn’t ready. This year we felt that they had been educated enough.” She added that Jay was “so over the moon” about the honor. “He was flipping out, he was going crazy,” she said.
Still, the 21-time Grammy winner’s recognition begs the question why it took the Hall so long to recognize a rapper. Hova “was in a space where, even though he's had more pop albums than anyone else, because he did it through rap,” it took longer for voters to consider him, said Nile Rodgers, who announced the inductees on CBS This Morning. “It's massive. He has changed the way that we listen to music.”
Besides Jay Z, the 2017 class of inductees includes Motown founder Berry Gordy, pop powerhouse Max Martin (Britney Spears, Backstreet Boys, Taylor Swift), Kenneth “Babyface” Edmonds (Boyz II Men, Whitney Houston), and the duo of Jimmy Jam & Terry Lewis (Janet Jackson, Usher, Mariah Carey). All of the honorees will be inducted in a ceremony on June 15.
Oh, and don’t worry: If Chance the Rapper has anything to say about it, there’s no way Jay will be the last rapper to receive the honor.