Hip-hop icon Jay Z is the first rapper chosen for the Songwriters Hall of Fame, heading a class of inductees that also features Motown Records founder Berry Gordy and R&B crooner Kenneth “Babyface” Edmonds, the group said Wednesday.
The 47-year-old Jay Z, who has sold more than 100 million records in his career since his debut “Reasonable Doubt” in 1996, is a 21-time Grammy winner -- and the husband of pop diva Beyonce.
“Also a powerful entrepreneur across the music/entertainment, fashion and sports industries, Jay Z personifies the ‘American Dream’,” the Songwriters Hall of Fame said in a statement announcing the class of 2017.
He will be inducted into the Hall on June 15 in New York along with Gordy, Edmonds and three members of the band Chicago -- Robert Lamm, James Pankow and Peter Cetera.
Other inductees include songwriting-production duo Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis -- best known for their work with Janet Jackson -- and hit-maker Max Martin, who has written songs for groups from the Backstreet Boys to Katy Perry and The Weeknd.