June 16 (UPI) — Former President Barack Obama gave a moving speech to induct hip-hop legend Jay Z into the Songwriters Hall of Fame on Thursday.
“I like to think Mr. Carter and I understand each other. Nobody who met us as younger men would have expected us to be where we are today,” Obama said in the pre-recorded video presented on stage at the ceremony in New York City. “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.”
Obama went on to say how much Jay Z’s music has influenced him over the years.
“Like all of you, I am a fan, and I’ve been listening to Jay since I was a young and hungry state senator. I sampled his lyrics to close my speech at Selma. I tweeted a reference to ‘My First Song’ as I was putting my finishing touches on my State of the Union address. I was brushing dirt off my shoulders during a campaign,” he said. “I’m pretty sure I’m the only president to listen to Jay Z’s music in the Oval Office. That may change at some point but I’m pretty sure it’s true now.”