jay z is the first rapper to enter the songwriters hall of fame

More than two decades after dropping his debut album 'Reasonable Doubt,' Hova is still changing the game.

by Hannah Ongley
22 February 2017, 7:15pm

At the ripe old age of 48, the Songwriters Hall of Fame has finally developed a taste for rap. The association announced this morning that Jay Z would be among the 2017 inductees, making him the first rapper to receive the coveted credit. Hova will be joined by Swedish hit machine Max Martin, Kenneth "Babyface" Edmonds, Prince collaborators Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis of The Time, three members of Chicago, and Motown founder Berry Gordy, who deferred his induction last year. Jay Z was nominated for the Hall back in October last year along with some pretty solid competition. Nominees who didn't make the cut include Madonna, George Michael, and Kool & the Gang.

It took voters longer to recognize the 21-time Grammy winner because "even though he's had more pop albums than anyone else, he did it through rap," said Chic guitarist and inductee announcer Nile Rodgers. "It's massive. He has changed the way that we listen to music. He's changed the way that we have fun." Hall co-chairs/members Kenneth Gamble and Leon Huff added that the Hall is moving "definitively into recognizing music creators of the 21st century while continuing to honor the greats of earlier decades."

So why did it take nearly half a century? The Hall was only around 20 years old during the golden age of hip-hop in the late 80s and early 90s, about the same age Jay was when he dropped his debut record Reasonable Doubt in 1996. Award shows have historically taken a while to do the job of crediting those music creators soundtracking new eras. After two decades atop the rap game, it's about time that Hova was recognized by the Hall as being one of them. 


Text Hannah Ongley
Photography via Flicker user Whittlz via Creative Commons

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