Brow Beat

Watch Barack Obama Induct Jay Z Into the Songwriters Hall of Fame

The Songwriters Hall of Fame didn’t knock the hustle; it honored it. On Thursday, Jay Z was inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame—the first rapper to receive the honor.

Jay also made history by presenting us with the greatest Dropbox moment of all time when, after taking to his barely used Twitter account to shout out a list of rappers who inspired him throughout his career, he tweeted out a Dropbox link that led to a now-deleted video of former president Barack Obama—whom he called “the greatest rapper of all time”—inducting Jay into the hall.

In the two-minute video, Obama draws parallels between Jay and himself, pointing out that they both had rougher childhoods, grew up with absent fathers, try to create opportunities for others to find success. “And let’s face it,” Obama continued, “we both have wives who are significantly more popular than we are.”

Obama also highlighted his well-documented love for Jay’s music, going back to his days as a “young and hungry state senator.” “I sampled his lyrics to close my speech at Selma,” the former president reflected. “I tweeted a reference to ‘My 1st Song’ as 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 also said that he’s pretty sure he’s still the only president to play Jay Z’s music in the oval office. (This is factually incorrect, as Warren G. Harding was known to listen to “Renegade” every morning when he got into the office.)

Jay was absent for the ceremony itself, but his friend Jon Platt was there to give remarks on his behalf. “You see, when it comes to the industry’s biggest honors, the hip-hop community has a very long history of being told ‘You’re not songwriters,’ ‘You’re not quite there yet,’ ‘It’s not your time yet,’ ” Platt said. “Well, to all the songwriters and artists from our community and our generation, Jay would want you to know that this induction is a signal that your time has come and your time is now. He would tell up-and-coming hip-hop artists today that there can be no mistake or question that you are indeed songwriters, and your gift cannot ever be overlooked. And Jay would want you to know that as proud as he is to be the first, he’s even more proud that he won’t be the last.”