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god is smiling on you but he's frowning, too
hip-hop
soopageek
n March of last year, I made a prediction for 2007, concerning this year's inductees to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. I predicted it would be the first year that a Rap/HipHop artist would be inducted and that the artist would be Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five.

On January 8th, it was announced that this year's inductees were Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five, Patti Smith, The Ronettes, Van Halen, and R.E.M.

To be fair, I also made some auxiliary predictions concerning The Sugarhill Gang and Sylvia Robinson riding on the coattails of GF+F5. I also was apparently wrong about their eligiblity; GF+F5 have been eligible AND nominated for the past three years running. However, I have to bask in the glory of calling-out the dissenting opinions of lossfound and welfy, who didn't think rap artists would even be included in the Hall of Fame, and to a certain degree, democritus and thawaltzingfool who didn't think this would be the year. Just a moment or two... oh yes, it feels good.

For me, the question still remains: will any more of rap's first old-school be recognized? The precedent has been set and the flood gates are now officially open. I personally don't think The Sugarhill Gang or Kurtis Blow are worthy, though I still think Robinson should get a non-performing recognition someday as a producer and founder of Sugarhill Records. In addition to being instrumental in giving rap it's first hit ("Rapper's Delight"), her duties in that capacity resulted in writing credits on dozens and dozens of rap's early songs, including "The Message". Maybe Afrikka Bambaataa? The second old-school starts becoming eligible over the next 4-5 years. Technically, my beloved Beastie Boys are already eligible, but I doubt they'll get a nomination until 2011 (the 25th anniversary of Licensed to Ill). Run-DMC are eligible in 2009. LL Cool J in 2011 and Public Enemy in 2013.

The Stooges were snubbed yet again, 13 years and counting. I think this year made like, 5 straight years they've been nominated but not inducted. I can't think of any other artist currently eligible that has had more wide-ranging influence than the Stooges. Certainly more than Patti Smith or The Ronettes. As for next year, there are a couple of first-year shoo-ins on-deck: Madonna and Metallica. Sonic Youth becomes eligible next year, too. They're certainly deserving, but if the Stooges can't manage an induction I don't have much faith Sonic Youth will make it the first go-around.


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Nah, I think the Beastie Boys are a shoo-in and while I'm certinaly biased, I think they more than meet the criteria. Licensed to Ill was the first rap album to go to number one on the pop charts. Paul's Boutique was groundbreaking and innovative, even if it wasn't a commercial success. Check Your Head was a solid album and Ill Communication, while self-indulgent, had it's moments. I'll give you that Hello Nasty was pretty awful but To the 5 Boroughs was reasonably strong to be an album 20+ years into their career.

Other than LL Cool J, no other rap artist has enjoyed a viable and marketable career as long as the Beasties. They were instrumental in broadening the audience of rap to white America. Along with Eminem, they are the only other rap artist in regular rotation on modern rock stations. As label entreprenuers they contributed to furthering the careers of an eclectic stable of bands and have lent their clout to organizing fund-raising festivals.

Until this year there has been a continuing question mark about the inclusion of rap artists to the Rock Hall. In my mind, there's no question. Rap is not only a product of rock and roll, but has been a continuing influence upon it. There's no question that the Red Hot Chili Peppers will someday be inducted and it's impossible to imagine that band without rap's influence. Or Beck? Rage Against the Machine? Chemical Brothers? Crystal Method? Any of the legions of Nu Metal bands?

given that rock is based entirely on thievery from early blues and country artists that were largely ignored from the get-go, i think that-- given the NAME of the hall of fame-- it would be very easy to ignore rap while including acts, eventually, that were strongly influenced by hip-hop.

that said, i honestly hope that humanity will come to an end before anyone nominates Linkin Park (or RATM or Chemical Bros or Crystal Method, for that matter).

But the Rock Hall hasn't ignored these artists. Hank Williams, Bill Monroe, Robert Johnson, Elmore James, Muddy Waters, Jelly Roll Morton, Howlin' Wolf, John Lee Hooker, Woody Guthrie, and many, many more are all in the Hall Of Fame... despite the name.

I understand your bone of contention, but my point is that, regardless, they've made it clear from the inception that it doesn't have to necessarily ROCK to be a contribution or influence. Personally I don't think James Brown is very "rock and roll". Or Isaac Hayes. Or Aretha Franklin.

I guess what I'm saying is, that I didn't make the rules, I just recognize where they're coming from. Given the past nature of the rock hall - the artists they've honored in the past and the liberal defintion of "rock" they've adopted - that rap was a sure inclusion.

With the exception of maybe RATM, I doubt any of those artists would be considered for the Rock Hall. That would be like, Wild Cherry or Lipps, Inc. being inducted because they were influenced by James Brown.


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