• Year:
  • Inducted by:
    Dave Chappelle
  • Category:

JAY-Z has been widely considered the greatest rapper alive since his debut in 1996, with accolades too many to mention. He is equally admired by Lil Wayne as he is by Warren Buffett. 



Jason King

The American Dream has always been a mirage for all but the elite. It’s especially inaccessible to those of us who are, as Curtis Mayfield once sang, darker than blue. From chattel slavery to Jim Crow to the prison industrial complex to gang warfare and other horrors, the game has long seemed rigged against Black people. Whether it’s the noose around our neck, or the knee pressed against it, it seems that Black folks ain’t supposed to die a natural death or make it out of here with our sanity intact. That’s especially true if the zip code where we live, or where we are born, is in the ’hood. The nation’s enduring tragicomedy of systemic racism and exclusion is what makes Jay-Z’s rags-to-riches story both a confirmation and repudiation of the American Dream mythology.

Cover of the 2021 Induction Program Book
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