Jay-Z just made history as the first living solo rap artist to be inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame!
The 51-year-old rapper was inducted by former US President Barack Obama and Dave Chappelle during the ceremony held in Cleveland, Ohio on October 30, 2021. In his speech, Jay-Z thanked his family and the people who inspired him to become a rapper.
“Thank you, Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, for this incredible honor. And you know, growing up, we didn’t think we could be inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. We were told that hip-hop was a fad. Much like punk rock, it gave us this anti-culture, this subgenre, and there were heroes in it,” he said.
“When thinking about what I was going to say tonight, these heroes just kept coming to my mind, Rakim and Big Daddy Kane and KRS-One and Chuck D, and, of course, a fellow inductee, LL Cool J. I watch these guys, and they have big gold chains and leather and sometimes even the red, black, green medallions and whatever they wore, everybody would wear the next day. I was like, ‘That’s what I want to do. I want to be like those guys.’ And so I set out on my journey.”
He also expressed his hope to inspire young artists to dream big. “Hopefully, I’m informing the next generation that anything is possible,” he said. “We did it, Brooklyn!”
Several notable personalities, including DJ Khaled, Dr. Dre, John Legend, Ed Sheeran, H.E.R., and Rihanna, honored Jay-Z in a video montage played during the event. In the same clip, former US President Obama shared that Jay-Z’s music has been a part of some memorable times in his life.
“I’ve turned to Jay-Z’s words at different points in my life, whether I was brushing dirt off my shoulder on the campaign trail, or sampling his lyrics on the Edmund Pettus Bridge on the 50th anniversary of the Selma march to Montgomery,” he said.
“Today, Jay-Z is one of the most renowned artists in history and an embodiment of the American dream, a dream he has helped make real for other young people like him.”
After the ceremony, Jay-Z once again expressed his gratitude on Twitter. “Thank you to everyone in that video package, I’m definitely gonna cry in the car,” he said.
Other inductees in the “Performer” category this year include Tina Turner, Carole King, The Go-Go’s, Foo Fighters, and Todd Rundgren. Meanwhile, Kraftwerk, Charley Patton, and Gil Scott-Heron received the “Early Influence Award”; LL Cool J, Billy Preston, and Randy Rhoads received the “Musical Excellence Award”; and Clarence Avant received the “Ahmet Ertegun Award.”