‘This man is a diamond that was born of pressure,’ Dave Chappelle said of Jay-Z
Chappelle introduced the rapper-turned business mogul, real name Sean Carter, to a 12,000-strong audience in Cleveland on Saturday.
“You embody Black excellence,” Chapelle said.
“I need everybody in rock and roll to know that even though you are honouring him, he is ours.
“He is hip-hop. Forever and ever and a day.”
Chappelle acknowledged Jay-Z’s rise from selling drugs on the streets of Brooklyn as a child to become one of the 21st Century’s bestselling artists, and later forging a highly successful career as a businessman.
“Being black in America is not as easy as it looks,” Chappelle said.
“It’s always… Don’t do this, or else. Don’t say this, or else.
“We have to make everything look easy. And this man is a diamond that was born of pressure.”
Earlier, Chappelle addressed the elephant in the room.
“I would like to apologise,” the comedian said in his opening remarks, before making it clear with an expletive that he was only joking.
Dr. Gloria Carter and Shawn “JAY-Z” Carter.
Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame
October 30, 2021 pic.twitter.com/ghFhvyhOFI
— Roc Nation (@RocNation) October 31, 2021
Before Chappelle took the stage, a video tribute was shown featuring a whos-who of tributes from stars including his wife Beyonce, Rihanna, Pharrell, Trevor Noah, Chris Rock and Lin-Manuel Miranda.
Former president Barack Obama also appeared via video, telling the audience: “I can relate to Jay-Z, because we are both married to women more popular than us.”
Taking to the stage, Jay-Z joked about the praise he had received.
“Y’all trying to make me cry in front of all these white people.”
He thanked fellow hip-hop pioneers Rakim and LL Cool J, who was also inducted into the Rock and Roll hall of fame on Saturday, recalling that when he was starting out in the music industry, he and fellow artists “were told that hip-hop was a fad”.
He thanked his mother Gloria Carter, who was in the audience, and sister for their roles in his success.
And in a shoutout to former President Obama, he recalled taking part in a campaign event in 2012 in Ohio, which helped the Democrat win the state for a second time.
“That showed me the power of hip-hop the power of these heroes who let me know that these things are possible … Hopefully I’m informing the next generation that anything is possible.”
Jay-Z he even had a word for his one time business associate, Roc-A-Fella co-founder Damon Dash, who he is locked in a bitter legal dispute with over streaming rights to Jay-Z’s record Reasonable Doubt.
“I know we don’t always see eye-to-eye but I can never erase your accomplishments and I appreciate you,” he said.
The Foo Fighters, Tina Turner, Carole King, Kraftwerk and the Go-Go’s were among the 12 new inductees at the 36th Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony on Saturday.