The Songwriters Hall of Fame’s (SHOF) 2017 class features its first-ever rapper inductee: Shawn “Jay Z” Carter.
The organization announced the MC and entrepreneur’s inclusion in a statement today (February 22) that says his creative and business accomplishments represent the “American Dream.” The statement lists many of those successes, including the 15 records—12 of which topped the Billboard 200 album charts—released on his Roc-A-Fella and Roc Nation imprints. It also specifically mentions his 1998 single, “Hard Knock Life (Ghetto Anthem),” as a “mega-hit.”
Jay Z’s fellow honorees include Kenneth “Babyface” Edmonds and prolific songwriting team Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis, all of whom have worked with Boyz II Men, Johnny Gill and Mary J. Blige. Motown Records founder Berry Gordy Jr. deferred his 2016 induction and is part of this year’s class as well.
“With our 2017 roster of inductees, the Songwriters Hall of Fame moves definitively into recognizing music creators of the 21st century while continuing to honor the greats of earlier decades,” say SHOF co-chairs Kenneth Gamble and Leon Huff and president Linda Moran in the statement. “The combination of contemporary sounds and timeless hits of the past is certain to make for an unforgettable evening,” they add in reference to the induction ceremony, which takes place June 15 in New York City.