Jay-Z Becomes First Rapper Inducted Into Songwriters Hall of Fame – Hip Hop’s Biggest Milestones in Music History
For Black History Month this year, Rémy Martin teams up with XXL to celebrate 10 important moments in hip-hop history. Through the years, Rémy Martin has created a synonymous relationship between cognac and music culture by representing celebration and entertainment seamlessly. In honor of hip-hop’s nearly 50-year existence, host DJ Suss One, XXL Awards Board members Kendell "Sav" Freeman, Vice President/Co-Head of Urban Music at Arista Records; Sydney Margetson, Senior Vice President of Publicity at Atlantic Records; and Traci Adams, Executive Vice President of Promotion at Epic Records, revisit Jay-Z becoming the first rapper inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 2017, as a monumental milestone in the genre.
The Songwriters Hall of Fame existed for 48 years before it inducted a rapper among its ranks and Jay-Z was the first MC chosen to change the game. The musical institute credits itself with being on a mission “to celebrate and honor the contributions and legacies of songwriters of all genres of music.” But for nearly five decades, no hip-hop artists were chosen among the hundreds of inductees. However, on June 15, 2017, that barrier was finally broken when Jigga was selected for that year’s class, which included R&B legend Kenneth “Babyface” Edmonds, the band Chicago, Motown founder Berry Gordy, famed songwriters Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis and Swedish singer-songwriter Max Martin. With his induction, the rap veteran joined the likes of Bob Marley, Jon Bon Jovi, David Bowie, Phil Collins, Little Richard and others.
Despite not being in attendance at the ceremony, the Brooklyn rapper was presented the award by former President Barack Obama via video. “I’d 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,” Obama noted while also calling Jay “a true American original.” “I’m pretty sure I’m still the only president to listen to Jay-Z’s music in the Oval Office.”
Since Hov’s induction in 2017, only three more hip-hop acts have been bestowed the honor of joining him in the HOF including Jermaine Dupri (2018), Missy Elliott (2019) and The Neptunes’ Pharrell Williams and Chad Hugo (2020).
Important milestones in hip-hop like this deserve recognition for years to come. As part of Black History Month, Rémy Martin and XXL will be making a donation to Black Music Action Coalition, an advocacy organization that was formed to addresses systemic racism within the music industry and reaches racial justice throughout society at large. Rémy Martin and XXL will match every additional dollar donated to BMAC during Black History Month.*
Watch DJ Suss One, Kendell "Sav" Freeman, Sydney Margetson and Traci Adams discuss Jay-Z's Songwriters Hall of Fame induction below.
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*Rémy Martin to match donations up to $50K, XXL to match donations up to $10K.