Barack Obama Inducts Jay Z Into Songwriters Hall Of Fame With A Heartfelt Message

The former president honored the music trailblazer's influence and personal history.

Jay Z, a trailblazer in the music community, became the first rapper to be inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame Thursday and was honored with a heartfelt message from another groundbreaking leader: Barack Obama. Obama surprised his longtime supporter with a taped introduction that was presented at the ceremony. 

The former president congratulated all the honorees before discussing his personal relationship with Jay Z's music. 

"I'm pretty sure I'm still the only president to listen to Jay Z's music in the Oval Office," Obama said. "That may change at some point, but I'm pretty sure that's true now."

Obama continued, reflecting on the similar obstacles in their lives both have overcome to be where they are today: 

"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. 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. 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 Z campaigned for Barack Obama in both 2008 and 2012, and it is reported that the two became friends. Both Obama and Jay Z have referenced each other in their own work, and the former president has admitted in 2013 that much of the rapper's music has made it onto his iPod. 

While not present at the ceremony, Jay Z took to Twitter later that day to express his gratitude for those who have supported and inspired him throughout his career, including President Obama. 

Cover image: Pete Souza / White House Archives | Debby Wong / Shutterstock


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