Jay Z Is The First Rapper Inducted Into The Songwriters Hall

Jay Z Is The First Rapper To Be Inducted Into The Songwriters Hall of Fame

Jay Electronica Joined By Jay Z + More At The Brooklyn Hip-Hop Festival - Photos by Tyrone Z. McCants

Photo of Jay Z taken by Tyron Z. McCants.

It took almost 50 years for the Songwriters Hall of Fame to note the accomplishments and talents of its latest inductees, but as they say, better late than never.

This year’s class includes Max Martin, Berry Gordy, Babyface, Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis, Chicago and Marcy Project’s own, Jay Z. With his inclusion the Roc Nation founder, born Shawn Carter, becomes the Songwriters Hall of Fame’s first rapper to be inducted. The 21-time Grammy winner has written hits over the course of two-and-a-half decades of rap dominance. From “Dead Presidents II” to “Can I Get A…” to “Izzo (H.O.V.A.) to his duets with Alicia Keys (“Empire State of Mind”) and his wife, Beyoncé (“’03 Bonnie & Clyde”) — Jay has been at the forefront, challenging hip-hop lyricists to step up their bars.

“[Jay Z] was in a space where, even though he’s had more pop albums than anyone else, because he did it through rap,” said Chic guitarist Nile Rodgers, who announced the inductees on CBS This Morning. “It is massive. He has changed the way that we listen to music. He’s changed the way that we have fun.”

In addition to Jay Z, the rest of the class is pretty dynamic. Max Martin, a writer or co-writer of 22 No. 1 songs to chart the Billboard Hot 100, third only to John Lennon and Paul McCartney. Motown CEO + founder, Berry Gordy, contributed to many songs for Jackie Wilson, Marvin Gaye and Diana Ross. Babyface, as is no surprise, is one of the most gifted singer-songwriters, bringing in 16 No. 1s to the chart. Jimmy Jam & Terry Lewis created legendary hits for Janet and Michael Jackson, Usher, Mary J. Blige, Mariah Carey and others. Chicago, the trio of Robert Lamm, James Pankow and Peter Cetera, have their own brand of classics such as “If You Leave Me Now,” “Saturday in the Park,” and “25 or 6 to 4”.

The Songwriters Hall of Fame’s 48th annual induction will take place on June 5 at the Marriott Marquis Hotel in New York City.

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