Jay-Z; Barack Obama (AP/Carolyn Kaster)

Watch Obama welcome Jay Z to the Songwriters Hall of Fame

The former president congratulated the rapper in a video tribute

Katie Serena
June 16, 2017 3:09PM (UTC)

Jay Z has officially become the first hip-hop artist to be inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame, and what better way to welcome him than with a warm welcome from one of his biggest fans?

At the induction ceremony on Thursday, former President Barack Obama provided a video tribute to the artist, born Shawn Carter, someone he called "a friend of mine and first-ballot Hall of Famer."


"I think Mr. Carter and I understand each other. Nobody who met us as younger men would have expected us to be where we are today," Obama began. "And so we try to prop open those doors of opportunities, so that it's a little easier for those who come up behind us to succeed as well."

"Jay and I are also fools for our daughters," he said. "Though, he's going to have me beat when those two twins show up."

"And, lets face it," he added. "We both have wives that are significantly more popular than we are."

Throughout the speech Obama brought up his longtime love of Jay Z, and how it influenced him throughout both of his campaigns and presidencies.

"Like all of you, I am a fan," he said. "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, and tweeted a reference to 'My First Song' when I was putting the finishing touches on my final State of the Union address. I had to 'brush some dirt off my shoulders' during a campaign."

The former president's embrace of Jay Z, and other rap music, hasn't always come without criticism. In 2011, the former president and former first lady Michelle Obama invited rapper Common to join them at the White House for a poetry reading. The visit wasn't well received by right-wingers, and sparked a long line of conservative media hosts bashing on the former president for his music choices.


Obama still feels the love, though. "I'm pretty sure I'm still the only president to listen to Jay Z's music in the Oval Office," he said with a grin. "That may change at some point, but I'm pretty sure that's true now."

Jay Z did not attend Thursday's induction ceremony, but took to Twitter to express his thanks and appreciation for those who had supported him, including "the greatest rapper of all time."


Watch the full tribute below:

Katie Serena

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Related Topics ------------------------------------------

Barack Obama Jay Z Music Partner Video Politics Rap Songwriters Hall Of Fame

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