Jay Z became the first rapper to be inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame on Thursday night (June 15) and he got one hell of a co-sign.
None other than Barack Obama delivered a videotaped message heaping praise on the music mogul calling him “a friend of mine and first-ballot Hall of Famer.”
Obama first congratulated many of the other inductees, including Kenneth “Babyface” Edmonds, Berry Gordy, Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis, Robert Lamm and James Pankow and Max Martin.
Then he got to Hova, real name Shawn Carter.
“I 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. We know what it’s like not to have a father around, we know what it’s like not to come from much, and to know people who didn’t get the same breaks that we did. And so we try to prop open those doors of opportunity so that it’s a little easier for those who come up behind us to succeed as well.””
The former commander in chief also made a crack referencing to their powerful wives, former first lady Michelle Obama and megastar Beyoncé.
“And let’s face it,” he said. “We both have wives who are significantly more popular than we are.”
Obama also spoke of bumping the Brooklyn rapper’s music throughout his career, from his early days as a state senator to preparing his final State of the Union address.
“I’m pretty sure I’m still the only president to listen to Jay Z’s music in the Oval Office,” he said. “That may change at some point, but I’m pretty sure that’s true now.”
Watch the full speech below.
While Jay Z wasn’t at the ceremony since Beyoncé is expected to give birth to their twins(?) any day now, he tweeted his thanks to “all the people that have inspired me.”
The rap star wasn’t sparing with the praise, either: He thanked some 90 other artists including The Notorious B.I.G., Tupac Shakur, Andre 3000, Nas, Lil Wayne, Queen Latifah and, of course, Queen Bey.
“B a rapper too!” he wrote.
But Jay Z saved his best praise for a man he called “the greatest rapper of all time.”
“Thank you 44,” he wrote to Obama.