You’ve got Grandmaster Flash, Run-DMC, Miles Davis, Madonna, and Tupac in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. The confusion behind these inductees lies not with the quality of their work, but rather the categorization of it.
There are four other artists who have been nominated but have yet to be inducted—Afrika Bambaataa, LL Cool J, Eric B. and Rakim, N.W.A—and four more groups who have been considered for the ballot but who have not yet been nominated—Boogie Down Productions, De La Soul, the Sugarhill Gang, and the Treacherous Three.
There are twenty-six Hip Hop songs in the Hall of Fame’s list of the Songs that Shaped Rock and Roll. Ever since Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five became the first Hip Hop group inducted in 2007, it started a trend of inducting that will most likely continue in the future.
Hip Hop is a part of the heritage of rock and roll. To put it in more definitive terms, Hip Hop is rock and roll. o, Hip Hop does not usually contain catchy electric guitar riffs. No, Hip Hop is usually not melodic throughout except for hooks. No, most rappers do not usually specialize in particular instruments.
Kool Herc would take funk records by pioneers and mix and match them to create break beats which dancers would break dance to and he would rap over. “Rapper’s Delight”, released in 1979 and considered the first song to popularize Hip Hop as a musical genre.
“Rapper’s Delight” is a heavily sampled Chic’s “Good Times” song. Afrika Bambaataa’s seminal single “Planet Rock”, released just a year after, sampled Kraftwerk and the rock band Babe Ruth. In 1984, Run-DMC released their debut album, featuring the song “Rock Box”, a demonstration in electric guitar. Only the year after would they release King of Rock.
In 1986, the former punk band known as the Beastie Boys released their Hip Hop debut Licensed to Ill, also with much use of electric guitar and samples from bands such as Black Sabbath and Led Zeppelin.
As seen with these examples, most of the notable early Hip Hop records have featured samples of rock songs or elements of rock. All of this does not mean that the two genres have always enjoyed a pleasant relationship. Many Hip Hop artists have attempted to put a wall between themselves and rock music.
On “Rock the Bells”, LL Cool J disses Bruce Springsteen, Madonna, and Prince over electric guitar chords. Gangsta rap pioneer Schoolly D wrote an open letter with “I Don’t Like Rock and Roll”.
Gene Simmons called out Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five and Run-DMC and for not being “rock artists”. David Crosby has tweeted that “rap isn’t music”. Noel Gallagher claimed that having Jay-Z headline Glastonbury in 2008 was just “wrong”; Jay replied by playing “Wonderwall” at his festival set.
In between the mutual respect and conflict, the question still struggles to be answered. Is Hip Hop rock and roll? Take another look at the list of rockers who were influenced by Hip Hop in its inception. Is it an accident that those who caught on the trend early, including Blondie and the Clash, were punk rockers who worked in the antithesis of pop music? The same case goes for Sonic Youth and Nirvana, two of the most influential alternative bands of the ’90s.
The point here is, rock and roll was a genre that shook society and changed the world when it was first conceived. The innovators—the ones who kept finding new sounds in rock and roll—were the ones who also embraced Hip Hop as it emerged as a denizen of the music world. Hip Hop emerged as a musical force of invention, and it was encouraged by the innovators. After all, isn’t rock and roll all about change?
Source: Is Hip Hop Rock & Roll?
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