Former U.S. president Barack Obama inducted his friend and supporter Jay Z into the Songwriters Hall of Fame.

Obama sent out a surprise video message on Thursday, reflecting on his friendship with the rapper. The former president began his introduction by naming this year’s inductees: Kenneth “Babyface” Edmonds, Jimmy Jam & Terry Lewis, Chicago’s Robert Lamm & James Pankow and Max Martin. He then congratulated his “friend and first-time ballot Hall of Famer,” Jay Z.

“I like to think Mr. Carter and I understand each other,” Obama said. “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.”

“Jay and I are also fools for our daughters, although he’s gonna have me beat once those twins show up,” he said. “And let’s face it, we both have wives who are significantly more popular than we are…” Obama joked.

Like all of you, I am a fan, and I’ve been listening to Jay since I was a young and hungry state senator. I sampled his lyrics to close my speech at Selma, I tweeted a reference to ‘My First Song’ as I was putting the finishing touches on my final State of the Union address, and I had to brush some dirt off my shoulders during a campaign. I’m pretty sure that I’m still the only president to listen to Jay Z’s music in the Oval Office. That may change at some point, but I’m pretty sure it’s true now. In fact, Jay, you’ve been inspiring and making me want to be active in my retirement just like you’ve been in yours,” he continued.

Jay Z is the first hip-hop artist to be inducted into the Hall of Fame. He was recognized for his prolific songwriting career and award-winning collaborations.



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