On April 7, at the Barclay’s Center in Brooklyn, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame will host their annual induction ceremony, ushering in a whole new class of artists into its hallowed institution. The slate this year is pretty stacked. Alt-rock icons Pearl Jam are getting the nod. So are 70’s stalwarts Journey, Yes and ELO, along with folkie Joan Baez, and Chic guitarist Nile Rodgers. Oh, and one of the greatest MCs to ever pick up a microphone, Tupac Shakur.
Much to the chagrin of Gene Simmons and his rockist cohorts, it looks like rap is going to take up a great presence in the museum on the banks Lake Erie in the years to come. Many people continue to argue and complain about the genre’s latent inclusion, but let’s be real, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame was never strictly about pure rock. Take a look at some of the names from the very first class inducted back in 1986: James Brown, Fats Domino, Jimmie Rodgers, Sam Cooke and Ray Charles. That’s not to mention pop artists like Madonna, Donna Summer, ABBA, or Michael Jackson that received entry in later years too. The institution has always been far more diverse in its tastes than its moniker has advertised.
Tupac is the first solo rapper to be inducted into the Rock Hall, but he joins a collection of some of the most impactful hip-hop groups of all-time, including acts like Run DMC, Grandmaster Flash and The Furious Five, Beastie Boys, Public Enemy and N.W.A. Not bad company, but there are plenty of big, important and impactful artists still on the outside looking in, waiting for their turn.
While this year’s class is already cemented, and with the most glaring name, Tupac, set to receive his due, I thought it’d be interesting to look at some of the candidates up for consideration in 2018. Standard Rock Hall rules apply, which means you had to put out your first record at least 25 years prior to be considered, which precludes ‘Pac’s nemesis Biggie, who will be eligible the following year in 2019. For what it’s worth Nas and OutKast both become eligible for consideration that year too, so prepare yourself for that debate.
In the meantime, let’s run through a list of ten rap artists who deserve to get a look during the next nomination committee meeting…