Hip-hop has been getting some well-deserved recognition in the past few weeks. A couple weeks ago, Nielsen declared hip-hop/R&B the most- consumed music genre in the country, surpassing rock for the first time ever. Now rapper and actor LL Cool J is the face of another first for the music genre.

Announcing their list of 2017 honorees on Thursday (Aug. 3), the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing arts revealed that LL Cool J would be among those recognized for their work at this year’s upcoming ceremony. The 49-year-old Queens, New York native will be the Kennedy Center’s first hip-hop honoree. In addition to LL, other 2017 honorees include singers Gloria Estefan and Lionel Richie, television writer and producer Norman Lear and dancer Carmen de Lavallade.

Upon learning that he would be recognized at the 40th anniversary Kennedy Center Honors, LL Cool J issued a statement about his latest accolade, saying, “My late grandmother passed some wise advice to me: ‘If a task is once begun, never leave it ’til it’s done. Be thy labor great or small, do it well or not at all. That adage has guided everything I have ever done in my life and I couldn’t be more grateful because it has led me here.”

The 40th annual Kennedy Center Honors will take place at a gala held on December 3, 2017. The ceremony airs December 26 on CBS and will feature performances and tributes from several notable entertainers. President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump are slated to attend the event.