Larry Busacca/Getty Images for Songwriters Hall Of FameHe didn’t walk the red carpet, but Thursday night in New York City, Jay Z became the first rapper to be inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame. He was one of many legends honored at the gala: Kenneth “Babyface” Edmonds, Jimmy Jam & Terry Lewis and Motown founder Berry Gordy were among the night’s other inductees.
“I was completely supportive of it and I’m glad they did it,” Babyface told ABC Radio of Jay’s milestone induction.
“Oh I think it’s great,” added Songwriters Hall of Fame co-chairman and legendary songwriter/producer Kenneth Gamble. “Because he’s got exceptional talent, and it’s not easy to spit out those words like that! So I think it’s a great thing. [We’re] moving forward.”
Thursday night, Hova took to Twitter to thank pretty much every other rapper in the game, as well as President Obama, who he called “the greatest rapper of all time.” He added, “Salute to anybody who made a song to feed their family or just vent.”
Of his own induction, 11-time Grammy winner Babyface told ABC Radio, “This is great because this is like THE songwriter’s award. That’s what I am first: a songwriter.”
New Edition member and solo artist Johnny Gill was on hand to honor both Babyface and Jimmy Jam & Terry Lewis, because he worked with all three men on his debut album Rub You the Right Way.
“People don’t realize [it] was the first album ever that Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis, L.A. and Babyface collaborated [on],” he told ABC Radio. “They did one side of the album, and Kenny and L.A. did the other side…so I was like, ‘Man, I’m the luckiest man on the planet!'”
Gill sang his Babyface-penned hit “My My My” at the ceremony. Comparing both production duos, he explained, “Jimmy and Terry brought more of that high strung dance moves kinda stuff, and Babyface always came with the classic love songs…the ultimate love songs that any woman could identify with.”
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