JAY-Z’s induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame was one of the biggest star-studded affairs in recent induction history.
First, President Barack Obama appeared via video to congratulate the iconic rapper on his induction, and then a second video played featuring some of the biggest names in entertainment reciting some of his most iconic rhymes. Among the people in the video were his wife Beyonce, Common, Diddy, Regina King, Halle Berry, Questlove, Jamie Foxx, Alicia Keys, Usher, Rihanna, Pharrell, Samuel L. Jackson, Queen Latifah, Ed Sheeran, Chris Rock, Lin Manuel Miranda, Lebron James, David Letterman, Lena Waithe, Lenny Kravitz, Kevin Hart and others. Doing the honor of bringing the video to a close was his daughter, Blue Ivy.
Then the star power in the room went up another notch when Dave Chappelle appeared on stage to do the honors of inducting HOV into the Rock Hall.
Chappelle opened his speech with, “I would like to apologize…nah, I’m just f—ing with y’all,” a nod to his latest controversy around his Netflix special The Closer.
Chappelle touched on Jay’s importance to the Black community saying that while he’s being inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, “I want to let everyone know he is ours, he is hip-hop.”
Acknowledging his drug-dealing past, Chappelle noted, “American pie isn’t made out of apples; it’s made of whatever you can get your hands on.” He would later add in his speech, “He embodies the potential of what our lives can be…You embody Black excellence.”
When he walked onto the stage, JAY-Z was greeted by one of the biggest ovations of the night and was clearly moved saying, “Trying to make me cry in front of all these white people.” He would go on to acknowledge some of his inspirations including Rakim, Big Daddy Kane, KRS-One and fellow inductee LL Cool J.
JAY-Z gave a lengthy speech, and in the middle of it, he told the sold-out crowd, who was still standing, “This is going to be long. You might want to sit down. Thank you, though. I appreciate it.”
He would then recall how then-presidential candidate Barack Obama reached out to him while on the campaign trail leading into the 2008 election and asked for him to appear at a number of his rallies. It was at this point he shared, “Hip-hop is an agent for change.”
A clearly humbled JAY-Z closed out his speech saying, “Sorry for this long-ass speech. We did it, Brooklyn!”