*History was made this morning with the announcement of Jay Z as a 2017 inductee into the Songwriters Hall of Fame.
The rap mogul becomes the first rapper to be chosen for the prestigious honor, leading a class that includes Max Martin, Kenneth “Babyface” Edmonds, Motown founder Berry Gordy, Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis, and three members of Chicago.
Famed producer and musician Nile Rodgers announced the inductees Wednesday on “CBS This Morning.”
Regarding the choice of Jay Z, Rodgers said, “It’s massive. He has changed the way that we listen to music. He’s changed the way that we have fun.”
Rodgers said Hov “was in a space where, even though he’s had more pop albums than anyone else, because he did it through rap,” it took longer for traditional voters to consider him.
— CBS This Morning (@CBSThisMorning) February 22, 2017
Following the announcement, Warner/Chappell Chairman & CEO Jon Platt praised Jay Z’s achievement in a memo to staff:
“Since his debut album, Reasonable Doubt, was released over two decades ago, it’s been an incredible honor to work with the greatest MC of all time as he continues to achieve the unprecedented. Today, his songwriting is celebrated with a new, landmark achievement: being inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame. With this announcement, Jay is also the first rap artist to ever be inducted into the SHOF. This is an enormous accomplishment for Jay, as well as on behalf of fellow hip-hop songwriters everywhere, as he takes his place alongside past inductees and legends, ranging from Bob Dylan to Stevie Wonder, and Marvin Gaye to Lennon & McCartney.”
Equally impressive are the remaining 2017 inductees. Gordy contributed countless songs for his legendary stable of Motown artists. Babyface’s handiwork has yielded 16 No. 1s, from Madonna’s “Take a Bow” to Boyz II Men’s “End of the Road.”
Jam & Lewis have written and produced hits for Janet Jackson, New Edition, Michael Jackson, Gwen Stefani, Usher, Mary J. Blige and Mariah Carey, among others.
Martin holds the distinction of having written or co-written 22 No. 1 songs on the Billboard Hot 100, third only to John Lennon and Paul McCartney. Chicago members of Robert Lamm, James Pankow and Peter Cetera have a list of classic rock staples including “Saturday in the Park” and “If You Leave Me Now.”
The Hall’s 48th Annual Induction and Awards Dinner will take place June 15 at the Marriott Marquis Hotel in New York City. Additional special award honorees will be announced in the coming days.