NEW ORLEANS, LA – FEBRUARY 19: Jay Z, Blue Ivy Carter and Beyonce Knowles attend the 66th NBA All-Star Game at Smoothie King Center on February 19, 2017 in New Orleans, Louisiana. Theo Wargo/Getty Images/AFP<br />Theo Wargo / GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA / AFP
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.