Barack Obama – Jay Z Songwriters Hall of Fame Speech

Former President Barack Obama is a big fan of Jay Z.The former POTUS had nothing but kind words to say about the 47-year-old rapper, who became the first hip-hop artist to be inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame on Thursday.In a pre-recorded video message, Obama began his introduction by naming this year’s inductees: Kenneth “Babyface” Edmonds, Jimmy Jam & Terry Lewis, Chicago’s Robert Lamm & James Pankow and Max Martin. He then congratulated his “friend and first-time ballot Hall of Famer,” Jay Z.”I like to think Mr. Carter and I understand each other,” Obama expressed. “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 that come up behind us to succeed as well.”

“Jay and I are also fools for our daughters, although he’s gonna have me beat once those twins show up,” he continued. “And let’s face it, we both have wives who are significantly more popular than we are… Like all of you, I am a fan, and I’ve been listening to Jay since I was a young and hungry state senator. I sampled his lyrics to close my speech at Selma, I tweeted a reference to ‘My First Song’ as I was putting the finishing touches on my final State of the Union address, and I had to brush some dirt off my shoulders during a campaign. I’m pretty sure that I’m still the only president to listen to Jay Z’s music in the Oval Office. That may change at some point, but I’m pretty sure it’s true now. In fact, Jay, you’ve been inspiring and making me want to be active in my retirement just like you’ve been in yours.”

Obama closed his remarks by recalling something “that Jay once said that struck me” about not changing and staying true to himself. He then concluded by saying, “I’m proud to help present this award to a true American original.”

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