Shawn “JAY Z” Carter: Songwriters Hall of Fame 2017 Inductee
“LEAVE A MARK THEY CAN’T ERASE”
As the first hip-hop artist to be inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame, JAY Z’s unrivaled body of work has ushered in the most important moment in hip-hop history.
It also confirms the notion that songwriting is hard work, a solitary grind, hidden from the outside world and obscured by fame. A germ of an idea may be scribbled on the back of a napkin—or in JAY Z’s case, stored in his memory bank—but nothing that truly moves the culture happens without countless hours grasping for that perfect word, or sound, to elevate a song.
Beyond measuring his skill alongside songwriting legends like Ray Charles and Bob Dylan, and elevating the entire art form, JAY Z is sending a clear message to past, present and future hip-hop songwriters: you too have a shot at immortality.
The most enduring pieces of music have moved culture in both subtle and substantial ways. Lyrics have been tools to awaken society to unfolding injustice, while also quietly providing a moral compass on how to behave in everyday life. Most musicians would settle for just one such instance in a career. JAY Z cannot count his moments on one hand. That’s an accomplishment worth celebrating.