Jay Z is having quite a week. On the heels of rumors that he and wife Beyonce welcomed twins in Los Angeles, the New York native became the first rapper to be inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame.
What made the honor so much more special was former President Barack Obama’s speech given during Thursday night’s ceremony — which, by the way, Jay did not attend.
In a video tribute to the rapper, Obama called Jay “a friend of mine and first-ballot Hall of Famer” before launching into a speech about he and Jay’s connection.
“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 said.
He continued, “We know what it’s like not to have a father around. We know what it’s like to not come from much, and to know people who didn’t get the same breaks as we did. So we try to prop open those doors of opportunity so that it’s a little easier for those who come up behind us have it a littler easier as well.”
The politician then suggested that their wives were more popular than them — something we completely concur with. “Like all of you, I am a fan: I’ve been listening to Jay since I was a young and hungry state senator,” Michelle Obama’s husband said.
He explained, “I sampled his lyrics to close his 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. So I’m pretty sure I’m still the only president to listen to Jay Z’s music in the Oval Office.”
Former POTUS concluded his tribute with this quote: “I never looked at myself and said ‘I need to be a certain way to be around a certain sort of people.’ I’ve always wanted to stay true to myself and I managed to do that. People have to accept that.”
Following the ceremony, attended by Jay’s mother, grandmother, sisters and friends, the rapper took to Twitter to thank his fellow artists who inspired him, including Lauryn Hill, Nicki Minaj, Queen Latifah, and “the greatest rapper of all time OBAMA . Thank you 44.”