The prestigious award was presented to Tyler by his friend and collaborator, A$AP Rocky.
“It’s an honor to present this award to my best friend today. But little do y’all know is that I hate that motherf**ker. That’s the truth,” Rocky joked. “So I’ma try to figure out a few kind words to say about him because I don’t really know some nice things.”
“All jokes aside, he’s one of my biggest inspirations, even though he’s a friend,” Rocky continued. “People don’t know this but when we first came into the rap game, we didn’t even like each other. And now, in hip hop, I don’t identify with anybody but my real true family and friends, so it’s an honor to present this award today.”
Tyler appeared on stage to accept the trophy and delivered a heartfelt speech of his own.
“My whole life I’ve felt like a stepchild — in school, at home and especially in music and rap, where I have a profession,” he began. “I didn’t let none of that sh*t stop me from doing what I wanted to do.”
“That’s why I always felt like a stepchild, but Wall Street Journal finally made it feel like that family celebrated my birthday,” he said. “So thank you.”
Tyler released his fifth studio album, IGOR, this May. The rapper and fashion designer was saluted by a star-studded crowd, including Jerry Seinfeld, Gigi Hadid, Kim Kardashian and Kanye West. The 2019 annual awards night presented trophies to innovators such as Julianne Moore, Eddie Murphy and more.
Watch Tyler’s full acceptance speech below.