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JAY-Z credits Beyoncé for bringing him back to the Grammys, salutes Diddy for inspiring him

Shaheem Reid

 // Jan 28, 2018

JAY-Z has another day (and night) for the record books in New York City. He started off his Saturday (January 27) by taping an interview for CNN with correspondent Van Jones and ended up at Catch partying with the likes of Diddy, French Montana and, of course, Beyoncé.

In between, he hosted his annual star-flooded Roc Nation brunch and was honored at Clive Davis' staple pre-Grammy Gala celebration. Alicia Keys paid homage to Hov by performing a medley of his classics and Migos took the stage as well for "Bad and Boujee." Jamie Foxx and his better half Katie Homes, Remy Ma, T.I. and Cardi B were all in attendance.

When Jay took the stage for his speech, he credited a snub of former labelmate DMX for sparking a six-year Grammys boycott and he also revealed that supporting his now-wife is what brought him back to the ceremony.

"I'm going to say a lot of real things tonight, but it's all coming from a beautiful and honest place.," JAY started off addressing the onlookers. "My introduction to the Grammys—aside from watching Quincy Jones and Michael Jackson andStevie Wonder and all those guys and aspiring to do what they do—was in 1998 with the album called Vol. 2. You got that album? I was nominated for some awards, but there was another guy, DMX, and he had these two great albums the same year. He did like 900,000 [sales in the first week]. Oh, only Kevin [Liles] remembers this? [laughs] The same year he released two albums, he wasn't nominated for any Grammys, so I actually boycotted the Grammys that year and I didn't come [back] until 2004 when a beautiful young lady whom I love dearly had a solo album, and it was a breakout."

Grammys 2018 | T.I. and Remy Ma celebrate at Clive Davis' Pre-Grammy Gala
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"So my first time was six years later for 'Crazy in Love' and that album, and for Beyoncé," he continued. "So then I realized that art is super subjective and everyone is doing their best. The Academy, they're human like we are, and they're voting on things that they like. And it's subjective. And if we believe in it, 'cause we do, and we can pretend that we don't care, but we really care. We see the most incredible artists stand on that stage and we aspire to be that. So I was like, 'I have to be here.' That is the idea for us to all get involved and push this thing further. No matter what happens at the Grammys, it's gonna be what it is. Bob Marley is going to be Bob Marley whether he is nominated for a Grammy or not. 2Pac is going to be 2Pac. Biggie is going to be Biggie. That is the truth."

Before closing out, Jay noted that is up to the artists to always push art further and motivate each other.

"In this industry, the things we uphold and we love and we treasure that we respect, we have to get involved," he declared. "I stand here on the shoulders of all the beautiful people. I see my man Puff there. He inspired me to do what I do today. So all of the people that came before us, it is our duty to make sure that not only are we making the greatest art, ]but] that we're upholding important things, the things that super real. And [that we] support each other and the things that are super real. So I'm super humbled and I'm super appreciative to The Academy and everybody here tonight. Thank you so much for this award. This shit [award] is super heavy too, by the way!"

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