Hip hop legend Jay Z has become the first rapper to be inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame. The 47 year old joins the likes of Max Martin, Berry Gordy, Jimmy Jam and Kenneth Edmonds as part of 2017’s honours list.
The Songwriters Hall of Fame was founded back in 1969 by music publishers Howie Richmond and Abe Olman and songwriter Johnny Mercer. The organisation aims to honour the musicians who have made a profound impact on the great American songbook. Some of the previous inductees include Hank Williams, Bob Dylan, Paul Simon, Michael Jackson and David Bowie.
Jay Z is one of the most important voices in contemporary music. Since releasing his first studio album ‘Reasonable Doubt’ in 1996, the rapper has achieved ten number one records all of which have been certified platinum. His most recent album ‘Magna Carta Holy Grail’ (2013) is reported to have sold over 528,000 copies in its first week.
Commercial accolades aside, Jay Z is often championed for providing a voice for young African Americans, particularly in his home state of New York. He is also considered to be one of the most talented wordsmiths of the last 25 years, and it comes as no surprise that he has become the first ‘rapper’ to receive this prestigious honour.
Referencing Jay Z’s recent induction, musician Nile Rodgers explained: “[He] was in a space where, even though he’s had more pop albums than anyone else, because he did it through rap [it took longer for voters to consider him],” “It’s massive. He has changed the way that we listen to music. He’s changed the way that we have fun.”
Here is a full list of 2017 inductees:
James Pankow (Chicago)
Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis
Peter Cetera (Chicago)
Robert Lamm (Chicago)