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Barack Obama Delivers Moving Tribute To Jay Z At The Songwriters Hall Of Fame

“I’m pretty sure I’m the only president to listen to Jay Z’s music in the Oval Office."

16/06/2017 10:35 SAST | Updated 16/06/2017 15:52 SAST

Jay Z became the first rapper to be inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame on Thursday night ― and he got one heck of an introduction. 

Former President Barack Obama delivered a videotaped message heaping praise on the music mogul, whose real name is Shawn Carter. 

Obama first congratulated many of the other inductees, including Kenneth “Babyface” Edmonds, Berry Gordy, Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis, Robert Lamm and James Pankow and Max Martin. 

Then he got to Jay Z.

“I like to 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. We know what it’s like not to have a father around, we know what it’s like not to come from much, and to know people who didn’t get the same breaks that we did. And so we try to prop open those doors of opportunity so that it’s a little easier for those who come up behind us to succeed as well.”

The former commander in chief also made a crack referencing to their powerful partners, former first lady Michelle Obama and megastar singer Beyoncé. 

“And let’s face it,” he said. “We both have wives who are significantly more popular than we are.” 

Obama also spoke of listening to Jay Z’s music throughout his career, from his early days as a state senator to preparing his final State of the Union address.

“I’m pretty sure I’m still the only president to listen to Jay Z’s music in the Oval Office,” he said. “That may change at some point, but I’m pretty sure that’s true now.”

Check out the full message above. 

Jay Z proved he could give as well as he receives. While he wasn’t at the ceremony ― Beyoncé is expected to give birth to their twins any day now ― he tweeted his thanks to “all the people that have inspired me.”

The rap star wasn’t sparing with the praise, either: He thanked some 90 other artists including The Notorious B.I.G., Tupac Shakur, Andre 3000, NasLil Wayne, Queen Latifah and, of course, Queen Bey.

B a rapper too!” he wrote. 

But Jay Z saved his best praise for a man he called “the greatest rapper of all time.” 

Thank you 44,” he wrote to Obama.  

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