East Hamptonite Jay-Z has countless awards to his name—including a Grammy, an American Music Award and a GLAAD Vanguard Award—but few achievements compare to his latest honor: being inducted into the Library of Congress’ National Recording Registry. He joins a growing list of East End inductees including Billy Joel, Paul Simon, Paul McCartney of The Beatles and Roger Waters of Pink Floyd.
Every year since 2002, the National Recording Preservation Board (NRPB) has chosen 25 recordings that best represent the range and diversity of American recording—including music, speeches, radio shows, comedy and more—and that have such lasting cultural, historical or aesthetic significance that they deserve to be preserved for future generations. “The influence of recorded sound over its nearly 160-year history has been profound, and technology has increased its reach and significance exponentially,” Librarian of Congress Carla Hayden said in a statement. “The Library of Congress and its many collaborators are working to preserve these sounds and moments in time, which reflect our past, present and future.”
One major rule of the selection process is that all prospective entries must be at least 10 years old, with the oldest in the catalogue of 525 albums and singles—20 cylinders of the earliest-known recordings of Yiddish songs—dating back to 1901.
As of this year’s additions, the youngest album in the registry is Jay-Z’s The Blueprint, released on September 11, 2001. The record was chosen for demonstrating Jay-Z’s range in the face of adversity, with battle raps calling out his lyrical adversaries, triumphant anthems about living the good life and sincere examinations of his humble beginnings and rise to fame. Other 2018 inductees include “Sweet Caroline” by Neil Diamond, “Soul Man” by Sam & Dave, “September” by Earth, Wind & Fire, an episode of Gunsmoke and Robert. F. Kennedy’s speech on the death of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.