Barack Obama Praises Jay-Z in Songwriters Hall of Fame Induction Speech

    The former president's kind words reflected the friendship the pair share

    Hip hop heavyweight Jay-Z made history this week when news broke that he would become the first rapper ever inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame. Though many celebrities rushed to congratulate him on the honor, one famous face stood out even amongst Jay-Z’s notably A-list fan base: former President Barack Obama.

    Between the public speaking, traveling, and family time to which Obama has largely devoted his few months out of office, the widely-beloved diplomat made the time to record a video tribute honoring Jay-Z.

    “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. 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.”

    Amidst the eloquent praise, Obama continued to weave his signature sense of humor throughout his speech.

    “Jay and I are also fools for our daughters, although he’s going to have me beat once those two twins show up.” Making sure to include mentions of Michelle and Beyonce, the former president went on to add, “Let’s face it. We both have wives who are significantly more popular than we are.”

    The warm jokes came with poetically-convenient timing; Jay-z was unable to attend the induction ceremony because he is currently in the hospital alongside wife Beyonce awaiting the arrival of two new family members. The superstar instead took to Twitter to express his immense gratitude towards being inducted into the Hall of Fame, citing over 90 fellow rappers as influences that have inspired his career.

    His response to Obama’s speech punctuated the lovefest, reading, “and the greatest rapper of all time OBAMA. Thank you 44.”