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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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I don't care that much for the guitar acrobatics...where it's just "how fast can it be played" sort of thing. The reference to "Watermelon in Easter Hay" was pointing where talent meets emotion and goes on a great ride.

Satriani, Vai, Malmsteen and the other guitar virtuosos only hold my attention so long. They're amazingly talented, no doubt. But Robert Cray, BB King, Clapton, and yes, even Zappa, where you feel the love of music and the love for the song bleed through...man, that just makes the hair on my arms stand up and reels me in.

yeah, i know a lot of people feel that way. in my old age i've come to feel that solos never "respect the song / composition" regardless of who is playing them. there are some soloists i can tolerate longer than others, zappa and hendrix among them. i never understood the blues-guitar-solo phenomenon at all. you have an inherently simple harmonic structure, where you have only a couple of basic formulae for formal construction and one song is essentially the same as another. it's pretty obviously about the solo and not the song.

the name shredders are actually a little more interesting in some theoretical sense, because they set themselves up purposely with much bigger challenges, in terms of formal structure and harmonic language (although, then again, you have guys like Kirk Hammett who will blissfully play a two-minute solo without having any freaking clue what harmonies are lying immediately underneath). but i agree that the results ultimately are even less compelling unless you want to marvel at the playing and nothing else.

it's a weightlifting contest. every guy in the gym wants to know how much you can bench. only a few girls care. and while they might be fun for a few nights in the sack, you sure as hell wouldn't want to marry them.

just my own take. my favorite guitarist in the world is Johnny Marr during the Smiths era, and i idolize that guy precisely because he was a player with absolutely insane chops whose main concern was the composition and the arrangement. you would never, ever know how fantastic a player that guy is unless you tried to play some of his more involved riffs yourself.

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