Jay-Z becomes the first rapper inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame

For Black History Month this year, Rémy Martin is partnering with XXL to celebrate 10 important moments in hip-hop history. Over the years, Rémy Martin has created a synonymous relationship between cognac and musical culture by harmoniously representing celebration and entertainment. In honor of nearly 50 years of hip-hop, host DJ Suss One, XXL Awards Board Members Kendell “Sav” Freeman, Vice President/Co-Head of Urban Music at Arista Records; Sydney Margetson, senior vice president of publicity at Atlantic Records; and Traci Adams, executive vice president of promotion at Epic Records, revisit Jay-Z by becoming the first rapper inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 2017, as a monumental step in the genre.

The Songwriters Hall of Fame existed for 48 years before inducting a rapper into its ranks and Jay-Z was the first MC chosen to change that. The musical institute’s mission is to “celebrate and honor the contributions and legacy of songwriters across all genres of music.” But for nearly five decades, no hip-hop artist was chosen from the hundreds of inductees. However, on June 15, 2017, that barrier was finally broken when Jigga was selected for that year’s class, which included R&B legend Kenneth “Babyface” Edmonds, The Chicago Band, Motown founder Berry Gordy, The Famous songwriters Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis and Swedish singer-songwriter Max Martin. With his induction, the rap veteran joined Bob Marley, Jon Bon Jovi, David Bowie, Phil Collins, Little Richard and others.

Although he did not attend the ceremony, the Brooklyn rapper was presented with the award by former President Barack Obama via video. “I’d like to think that Mr. Carter and I understand each other. No one who met us as younger men expected us to be where we are today,” Obama noted while calling Jay a “true American original.” “I’m pretty sure I’m still the only president listening to Jay-Z music in the Oval Office.”

Since Hov’s induction in 2017, only three other hip-hop groups have had the honor of joining him at HOF, including Jermaine Dupri (2018), Missy Elliott (2019) and Pharrell Williams and Chad Hugo of The Neptunes (2020 ).

Important milestones in hip-hop like this deserve to be recognized for years to come. As part of Black History Month, Rémy Martin and XXL will donate to Black Music Action Coalition, an advocacy organization that was created to fight systemic racism within the music industry and achieve racial justice across society. Remy Martin and XXL will match every additional dollar donated to BMAC during Black History Month.*

Donate to Black Music Coalition here

Watch DJ Suss One, Kendell “Sav” Freeman, Sydney Margetson and Traci Adams discuss Jay-Z’s Songwriter Hall of Fame induction below.

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*Rémy Martin to match donations up to $50,000, XXL to match donations up to $10,000.

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