JAY-Z was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame by comedian Dave Chappelle Saturday night in Cleveland, Ohio.
Chappelle, who’s been under fire for his controversial Netflix special The Closer, began his speech by joking, “I would like to apologize to…,” and then quickly added, “Nah, I’m just f****** with you.”
He praised JAY-Z for his musical contributions and effortless cool, saying, “I need everybody around the world to know: Even though you are honoring him, he is ours. He is hip-hop, forever and ever and a day.”
In his acceptance speech, Jay joked that the warm reception from the crowd was “trying to make me cry in front of all these white people.”
He went on to thank his influences, including LL Cool J, who’d been honored earlier in the evening with the Musical Excellence Award.
“Growing up, we didn’t think we could be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame,” Hova said. “We were told hip-hop was a fad, and much like punk rock, it gave us this anti-culture, this sub-genre, and there were heroes in it.”
JAY-Z didn’t perform, but a video address from President Obama was screened, as well as a tribute video featuring, among others, LeBron James, Diddy, Lin-Manuel Miranda, Jamie Foxx, Chris Rock, John Legend and Jay‘s wife and daughter Beyoncé and Blue Ivy.
LL Cool J, meanwhile, was given his award by Dr. Dre after being rejected for official induction six previous times — but he wasn’t bitter about it.
“A lot people, when I told them when I told them I got inducted, they’d say to me, ‘Isn’t it is about time?,” LL said during his speech. “What people don’t realize is, I wasn’t thinking about the people who voted against me. I was thinking about the people who voted for me. It was love.”
He went on to deliver a performance featuring surprise guests Eminem and Jennifer Lopez. The set list started with “Go Cut Creator Go” and included “Rock the Bells,” “All I Have” and “Mama Said Knock You Out.”
The Rock Hall also welcomed iconic singer Tina Turner, and honored pioneering record executive Clarence Avant, legendary jazz and spoken-word performer Gil-Scott Heron and bluesman Charley Patton, among others. The ceremony will air on HBO on November 20.
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