*JAY-Z is the first living solo rap artist to be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
The hip-hip icon acknowledged his mother, sister, and former business partner Dame Dash in his speech during Saturday evening’s induction ceremony in Cleveland, Ohio.
“Thank you, Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, for this incredible honor. And you know, growing up, we didn’t think we could be inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. We were told that hip-hop was a fad,” the rapper began his speech. “Much like punk rock, it gave us this anti-culture, this subgenre, and there were heroes in it.”
JAY-Z also thanked the late Notorious B.I.G., and said to ex-friend Dame Dash… “Shout out to Dame, I know we don’t see eye to eye, but I can never erase your accomplishments. And I appreciate you, and I thank you for that.”
Dame and Jigga founded Rock-A-Fella Records. However, the label crashed and burned after the two men fell out.
“When thinking about what I was going to say tonight, these heroes just kept coming to my mind, Rakim and Big Daddy Kane and KRS-One and Chuck D, and, of course, a fellow inductee, LL Cool J. I watch these guys, and they have big gold chains and leather and sometimes even the red, black, green medallions and whatever they wore, everybody would wear the next day. I was like, ‘That’s what I want to do. I want to be like those guys.’ And so I set out on my journey,” JAY-Z said during his speech.
Jay Z gives Dame Dash a shoutout during his Rock n Roll Hall of fame speech pic.twitter.com/hupxm0TQJ0
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“Hopefully, I’m informing the next generation that anything is possible. I don’t know what’s next — In fact, I do know what’s next. I have to go to court Monday. There’s good and bad, life is about balance — But you know, tonight, we’re going to enjoy tonight. I appreciate this honor. Sorry for this long-ass speech, but I had to give it up. We did it, Brooklyn!” the father of three concluded.
JAY-Z was inducted by comedian Dave Chappelle and former President Barack Obama, who is a massive fan of the artist.
“I’ve turned to JAY-Z’s words at different points in my life, whether I was brushing dirt off my shoulder on the campaign trail, or sampling his lyrics on the Edmund Pettus Bridge on the 50th anniversary of the Selma march to Montgomery,” Obama said. “Today, JAY-Z is one of the most renowned artists in history and an embodiment of the American dream, a dream he has helped make real for other young people like him.”
The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame announced on May 12 which of this year’s nominees for the 2021 ceremony.
Superstar Jay-Z, Foo Fighters and the Go-Go’s were elected, making this their first time on the ballot. The class also includes legendary singers Tina Turner, Carole King and Todd Rundgren. The hall will also welcome LL Cool J, Billy Preston and Randy Rhoads with musical excellence awards. Kraftwerk, Gil Scott Heron and Charley Patton.
Organizers called it “the most diverse list of Inductees in the history of the organization,” according to a news release.
An induction ceremony special will air on Nov. 20 and will be available to watch on HBO and HBO Max.