Former U.S. President Barack Obama was never one to be shy about his love for music during his time in the White House. These days, with a bit more free time on his hands, he’s been taking the opportunity to help honor those who have used music to inspire others. That was the case at the Songwriter Hall of Fame Gala in New York City on Thursday night, where Obama indirectly helped induct Jay Z with a pre-taped speech.
“I’d like to think Mr. Carter and I understand each other,” the former President says early on in the video. “Nobody who met us as younger men would have expected us to be where we are today. 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. So we try to prop open those doors of opportunity so that it’s a little easier for those who come up behind us to succeed as well.”
The former POTUS also made sure to acknowledge the rest of this year’s loaded Hall of Fame class, which includes Max Martin, Motown founder Berry Gordy, Kenneth "Babyface" Edmonds, The Time’s Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis and Chicago’s James Pankow, Robert Lamm and Peter Cetera.
Jay Z, who was also unable to attend the ceremony due to his wife Beyoncé reportedly being close to labor with their twins, made history this year as the first hip-hop artist to ever be inducted into the exclusive and distinguished club.
The entire speech can be heard in the video above.