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JAY Z, BABYFACE, MAX MARTIN, CHICAGO IN SONGWRITERS HALL

Jay Z will make history by becoming the first rapper to be inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame. The Class of 2017 was introduced this morning and will include Max Martin, Kenneth “Babyface” Edmonds, Jimmy Jam & Terry Lewis and Chicago’s Robert Lamm, James Pankow and Peter Cetera.

Berry Gordy, who deferred his induction last year, will also be part of the class.

The inductees were announced in a lengthy segment on CBS This Morning in which each songwriter’s career highlights were singled out—Jay Z has more #1 albums than any other rapper (13); Jam & Lewis co-wrote Janet Jackson’s first #1 single plus another eight of her chart-toppers; and Martin’s 22 #1 hits are behind only John Lennon & Paul McCartney.

Nile Rodgers, who was inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame last year and will be honored at this year’s Rock and Roll Hall of Fame ceremony, was on hand to provide color commentary. "As a composer, this is the pinnacle," he told the show’s anchors. "As artists, this is where you are alongside Rodgers & Hammerstein, Gershwin, Comden & Green as well as Al Green."

The induction event will take place 6/15 at the Marriott Marquis Hotel in New York City. Additional special award honorees will be announced soon.

"The songwriters we honor cross genres, regional and even national boundaries—R&B, rap, pop and rock & roll from both coasts, the American heartland and Sweden," SHOF co-chairs Kenneth Gamble and Leon Huff and President Linda Moran said in a statement. "We are thrilled to once more have the opportunity to preside over an event that recognizes the convergence of song craft and musical performance at the very highest level."

Warner/Chappell chief Jon Platt, Jay Z's publisher, released the following comments companywide:

Since his debut album, Reasonable Doubt, was released over two decades ago, it's been an incredible honor to work with the greatest MC of all time as he continues to achieve the unprecedented. Today, his songwriting is celebrated with a new, landmark achievement: being inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame. With this announcement, Jay is also the first rap artist to ever be inducted into the SHOF. This is an enormous accomplishment for Jay, as well as on behalf of fellow hip-hop songwriters everywhere, as he takes his place alongside past inductees and legends, ranging from Bob Dylan to Stevie Wonder, and Marvin Gaye to Lennon & McCartney. All of us at Warner/Chappell can be immensely proud that it is Jay Z who has made this historic moment possible with his revolutionary body of work. 

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