Drake became the first hip hop artist to be presented with the Hal David Starlight Award at the 42nd Songwriter’s Hall of Fame Awards Gala on Thursday (June 16) at a ceremony in New York City.
The rapper was honored alongside other iconic musicians, such as Chaka Khan, Garth Brooks, and Allen Toussaint.
Before presenting Drake with the honor, Jimmy Jam praised the rapper not only for his songwriting, but for his ability to blend both singing and rapping.
Drake, who arrived at the ceremony with his mother, dedicating the award to her during his acceptance speech.
He later tweeted (@drakkardnoir): “Just won the most incredible award and performed for my mother … a year ago today she was being wheeled into a surgery room … I love you.”
The Hal David Starlight Award is given to gifted songwriters, who have made a significant impact in the music industry with original songs. The Songwriter’s Hall of Fame has stated that Drake is one of music’s brightest new stars, lauded for his songwriting prowess, melodious hooks and emotionally transparent performances.
Before being presented his award by producer Jimmy Jam, Drake performed “The Calm” (from his breakout mixtape, So Far Gone) for the first time at an award show or event, in honor of John Bettis.