Shawn “Jay-Z” Carter doesn’t do anything unless he can do it to the fullest and his Rock & Hall of Fame induction ceremony was no different. In front of a packed house in Cleveland, legendary comedian Dave Chappelle provided a moving tribute for the legendary lyricist as he became one of the few rappers to ever be inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame.
“This is an incredible honor to induct this next man into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. But I need everybody in rock & roll know that even though we are honoring him, he is ours. He is hip-hop. Forever and ever and a day,” Chappelle told the crowd at Rocket Mortgage Fieldhouse on Saturday night.
“Hova, my friend. I’m a fan. I’m honored that I got a chance to know you. You embody Black excellence, how great we can be. When Barack Obama was running for president, I sat in an arena in Columbus, and watched you influence the crowd and make sure we’re unified and vote as a body. I understand who you are. And I understand what you do and I a very grateful for your contribution to this art. And I am honored to be the n—- that gets to say, ‘My n—-, welcome to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.’”
Chappelle was not the only A-list guest to step on the stage and provide a few moving words about the Brooklyn native. Former President Barack Obama also offered a few kind words about his friend and legendary 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 about the iconic artist, according to NME.
“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.”
After Chappelle and Obama introduced the Reasonable Doubt rapper, Jay-Z did what he does best. He used his word to encapsulate what it means to go from being a kid in the Marcy Projects of Brooklyn to becoming a Rock & Hall of Fame inductee.
“Thank you, Rock & 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. Much like punk rock, it gave us this anticulture, this subgenre, and there were heroes in it. 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,” he said, according to Rolling Stone.
“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.”
His journey has included more than a handful of platinum plaques, over a dozen GRAMMY Awards, multiple businesses and a beautiful family. Not bad for a kid from Marcy, right?