Bono, Quincy Jones, Andre 3000, Chance the Rapper and more honored Jay Z‘s legacy of music and lyrics after he became the first rapper to be inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame. The honorary remarks were collected on the Jay Z-helmed streaming service, Tidal.
Bono referred to Jay Z as the “archangel of hip” and praised the rapper’s vivid lyrical style. “He reported what he saw and what he felt and he took us with him. Most of us first heard him when we heard ‘Hard Knock Life (Ghetto Anthem)’ perfectly juxtaposing the beauty of childhood and the reality he lived in. He got us listening, and we’ve been listening ever since. A true artist that follows Miles Davis’ definition of a true artist, ‘It’s not about standing still and becoming safe. If anybody wants to keep creating they have to be about change.'”
In a video statement, Quincy Jones celebrated Jay Z’s groundbreaking induction into the Songwriters Hall of Fame. “I can’t tell you how proud I am of him and that they’re taking the step to understand that hip-hop is a huge part of our culture,” he said. “He knows why God gave us two ears and one mouth – that means you’re supposed to listen twice as much as you talk. Jay Z has earned the right to be the first rapper [in the Hall of Fame].”
Chance the Rapper echoed Jones’ sentiment in his own video, saying, “To finally have somebody in this culture and this part of the game, this side, recognized – it’s long overdue, but I’m glad it’s him. Jay Z started this shit … and it makes sense for it to be him just being somebody that’s always been so vocal about publishing and owning your masters and making the kind of music people are gonna sample years later.”
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Andre 3000 discussed Jay’s influence as both a musician and a motivator, noting, “You can hear his wit and hustle stylings in the backbones of some of the biggest and respected artists of today. But even more importantly, he has verbally taught new generations how to understand their personal worth and create opportunities for others around them.”
Jay’s fellow New York City hip-hop pioneer Chuck D also praised the rapper’s ability to craft memorable songs that are firmly rooted in the world around him. “To write a song that sticks in the mind and souls of human beings is a miracle itself,” Chuck D said. “The fact that Jay Z does it with such organic spontaneous creativity is a testament to his intense watching and listening of his surrounding world. His execution is bionic but his fuel is his word design, wit, and humor.”
Other artists to share their thoughts on Jay’s extraordinary career include Nicki Minaj, Jay Electronica, Common, Rick Ross, Jill Scott and Timbaland. Even Jon Bon Jovi marked the momentous occasion with his own all-caps note: “JAY Z IS BEING INDUCTED INTO THE SONGWRITERS HALL OF FAME? WHAT TOOK SO FUCKING LONG?”
The 2017 Songwriters Hall of Fame class was announced in February. Max Martin, Kenneth “Babyface” Edmonds, Motown founder Berry Gordy, Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis and Chicago’s Robert Lamm, James Pankow and Peter Cetera are set to be inducted.