The Songwriters Hall of Fame has been around forever. Rap has been around forever. So why haven’t any rappers been inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame? Fear not–Jay Z has changed that trend.
Jay Z received his nomination into the Songwriters Hall of Fame back in October, and now the honor is official. Niles Rodgers announced the honorees on CBS This Morning. He took some time to focus on Jay Z’s achievement of being the first rapper to be inducted.
“The revolutionary people who come up with the next level of classical music are always the ones that go, ‘Hmm, can I do this?'” Rodgers said. “And you do it. So Jay Z was in a space where even though he’s had more pop albums than anyone else, he did it through rap, which is not traditionally considered part of the normal pop music scene.”
Considering Jay Z has won 21 Grammys and sold over 100 million records, its about time. Obviously he’s been honored in other ways, but joining the Songwriters Hall of Fame is a big step forward for rap music as a whole. In order to even be eligible, artists had to be writing hits for at least 20 years.
“He has changed the way that we listen to music,” Rodgers added. “He’s changed the way that we have fun. He’s changed the way that we cry.”
Discography and Business Ventures
Jay Z’s first album, Reasonable Doubt, debuted in 1996. He’s released an additional 11 solo studio albums since then. His most recent release was Magna Carta Holy Grail in 2013.
He’s also got numerous business ventures under his belt. He founded clothing label Rocawear, published a memoir and even developed Tidal’s music streaming service. Of course, having his wife Beyonce by his side through thick and thin is sure to help a bit.
In addition to Jay Z, other honorees included Kenneth “Babyface” Edmonds, Berry Gordon, Chicago, Max Martin, Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis.