JAY-Z was saluted at Clive Davis’s pre-Grammy party in New York on Saturday (Jan. 27). The Roc Nation mogul received the GRAMMY Salute to Industry Icons Award for his indelible work in music.

During his acceptance speech, JAY-Z spoke about his decision to boycott the Grammy Awards in 1998 when rapper DMX did not get any nominations despite having two No. 1 albums out that year. Hov would later attend the Grammy Awards in 2004 when his wife, Beyoncé, was nominated for her album, Dangerously in Love.

“The Academy, they’re human like we are and they’re voting on things that they like, it’s subjective...we care because we’re seeing the most incredible artists standing on that stage and we aspire to be there, so I was like, I have to be here,” he told attendees (via Reuters).

“It’s our duty to make sure that not only are we making the greatest art, that we’re upholding and supporting things that are super real,” he added.

Prior to JAY-Z receiving his honor, Alicia Keys performed a medley of his hits, including "Hard Knock Life," "Run This Town," "U Don't Know" and, of course, their collaborative New York anthem "Empire State of Mind."

Clive Davis also shouted out JAY's wife Beyoncé and proclaimed her as the "First Lady of Music."

“Tonight, there are no winners, there are no losers,” said Davis. “There’s just the wonders of music to celebrate.”

Michael Kovac, Getty Images

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