Jay Z has officially become the first hip hop artist to be inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame.
The ‘Hard Knock Life’ hitmaker has merged with the likes of the late John Lennon, Sir Elton John, Burt Bacharach and Lionel Richie in the acclaimed group after being nominated for the honour by his musical peers.
And a group of celebrities have paid respect to the music executive following his initiation, with U2’s lead singer Bono addressing him the “archangel of hip”.
Bono said via Tidal: “Archangel of hip. Jay Z’s lyrics and music touch every emotion: rage, love, sadness, joy and tragedy. Jay Z started taking notes on his life early on, he reported what he saw and what he felt and he took us with him.”
“Most of us first heard him when we heard ‘Hard Knock Life (Ghetto Anthem)’ perfectly juxtaposing the beauty of childhood and the reality he lived in. He got us listening, and we’ve been listening ever since.”
“A true artist that follows Miles Davis’ definition of a true artist, ‘It’s not about standing still and becoming safe. If anybody wants to keep creating they have to be about change.’ ”
Tidal distributed testimonials from a plethora of artists, including Quincy Jones, Nicki Minaj, Jon Bon Jovi, Alicia Keys, Public Enemy’s Chuck D and Andre 3000.
In a video assertion, Quincy said: “I can’t tell you how proud I am of him and that they’re taking the step to understand that hip-hop is a huge part of our culture.”
“He knows why God gave us two ears and one mouth – that means you’re supposed to listen twice as much as you talk. Jay Z has earned the right to be the first rapper [in the Hall of Fame].”
Jay’s ‘Empire State of Mind’ partner Alicia Keys was “baffled” it has taken so long for a hip hop artist to receive the honour, but thinks the right person has been chosen.
She said: “It baffles me that only now an MC is being inducted into the Songwriters Hall Of Fame, yet at the same time it makes perfect sense [Jay] is the first.”
Meanwhile, Bon Jovi frontman Jon had a straightforward statement to make.
Writing all in capital letters, he stated: “JAY Z IS BEING INDUCTED INTO THE SONGWRITERS HALL OF FAME? WHAT TOOK SO F***ING LONG?(sic)”
Also being inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame – which looks to “preserve, honour and celebrate the legacy of the great songwriters whose work has enriched the world’s culture” – at a commemoration in New York on Thursday (6/15/17) are the likes of producer Max Martin, Kenneth ‘Babyface’ Edmonds, Motown founder Berry Gordy, Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis, and three members of Chicago.