The Songwriters Hall of Fame will honor a rapper for the first time at its 48th annual induction ceremony: Jay Z.
The Brooklyn M.C. born Shawn Carter, known for hits like “Hard Knock Life (Ghetto Anthem),” “Big Pimpin’,” “Izzo (H.O.V.A.)” and “Empire State of Mind,” headlines an induction group this year that also includes Kenneth Edmonds (best known as Babyface); the R&B producers Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis; the Top 40 maestro Max Martin; and the band Chicago’s chief songwriters, Robert Lamm, James Pankow and Peter Cetera. The Motown founder Berry Gordy Jr., who deferred his induction last year, will also be honored.
In an announcement on Wednesday, the Hall of Fame’s co-chairs, Kenneth Gamble and Leon Huff, along with its president, Linda Moran, said that with its new class, the organization “moves definitively into recognizing music creators of the 21st century while continuing to honor the greats of earlier decades.” They added, “The songwriters we honor cross genre, regional and even national boundaries — R&B, rap, pop and rock ’n’ roll from both coasts, the American heartland and Sweden.”
The ceremony will take place on June 15 at the Marriott Marquis Hotel in Manhattan.
With its gesture toward hip-hop, the Songwriters Hall of Fame follows the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in beginning to acknowledge a genre that has long transcended upstart — or flash-in-the-pan — status and has become a dominant mode in modern popular music. When Tupac Shakur is inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in April, he will be the sixth hip-hop act ever voted in after Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five, Run-DMC, the Beastie Boys, Public Enemy and N.W.A.