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Class of 1981

In case you’re not familiar with the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, it’s kind of like the Baseball Hall of Fame, except that it’s mostly full of shit. From what I understand, it’s run more or less entirely by Jann Wenner from Rolling Stone magazine.

The first class of artists was inducted into the Rock Hall back in the mid ’80s and included the likes of James Brown, Elvis, and other such heavyweights. Since then, Eric Clapton has been inducted like nine times, while it took Black Sabbath over 10 years of campaigning just to get in once.

The way it works is that an artist becomes elgible for entry 25 years after the release of their first single. A big group like U2 will get in the first year they’re eligible, while less notable groups will end up waiting years and years, if they get in at all.

Up until just now, no rap groups have been inducted, but then it’s only been about 27 years since the first rap recordings were released. A few groups would’ve been eligible as recently as two years ago, but I guess they weren’t notable enough to get in right away.

This year, Grandmaster Flash & The Furious Five will be the first rap group inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. If I’m not mistaken, their first single was released in 1979, not too long after the Sugar Hill Gang put out “Rapper’s Delight.”

I guess the first obvious issue is what about all of the hip-hop pioneers like Kool Herc who were around from the very beginning, but were already off smoking crack by the time rappers started recording? Will they just not be included?

My guess is that they will, but in some ancillary category that no one gives a shit about. According to the Wikipedia entry for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, there’s a separate category for “non-performers” that includes the likes of songwriters, producers, DJs, music industry executives, and journalists.

[Does that mean Bol could one day be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, albeit in some shitty side category? Sweet!]

The other main issue, which I’m sure you’ll all be less than eager to address, is that a lot of early rap music really isn’t that good. Granted, taste in music is (somewhat) subjective, but how many of you d-bags really listen to rap albums from 1982? (Other than Noz, of course.)

As such, it’ll be interesting to see how many rappers are deemed worth of entry into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in the coming years. Also, it’ll be interesting to see the response from both the fans as well as the artists themselves.

Which rappers should be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, and should we give a shit anyway?

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