Former US President Barack Obama has lauded Jay Z for inspiring many people around the world – as the rapper became the first hip-hop star to be inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame.

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Jay Z was inducted on Thursday night but the hip-hop mogul was absent as a result of his wife Beyonce’s imminent delivery of twins.

“Mr Carter and I understand each other. Nobody who met us as younger men would have expected us to be where we are today,” Obama said in the video clip played during the induction ceremony.

“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.”

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Veterans of the US music industry, U2’s Bono and Quincy Jones, have also heaped praised on the iconic rapper.

“I can’t tell you how proud I am of him and that they’re taking the step to understand that hip-hop is a huge part of our culture,” Jones said in a video statement.

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“He knows why God gave us two ears and one mouth – that means you’re supposed to listen twice as much as you talk. Jay Z has earned the right to be the first rapper [in the Hall of Fame].”

Bono said Jay Z drew everyone into his world through his powerful lyrics, saying, “he got us listening, and we’ve been listening ever since.

“He reported what he saw and what he felt and he took us with him. Most of us first heard him when we heard Hard Knock Life perfectly juxtaposing the beauty of childhood and the reality he lived in.”

Other inductees on the night were Max Martin, Robert Lamm and James Pankow, Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis, Berry Gordy, and Kenneth ‘Babyface’ Edmonds.

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Jon Platt, Warner/Chappell CEO, who is Jay Z’s longtime friend, delivered an acceptance speech and accepted the award on his behalf.

The rapper subsequently took to Twitter to thank a horde of artistes for inspiring him.



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