Tupac Shakur will be the sixth rap artist inducted into Cleveland’s Rock and Roll Hall of Fame — he was one of the top five vote getters for 2017, and will be joined by Pearl Jam, Journey, Yes, Electric Light Orchestra and Joan Baez.
Grand Master Flash and the Furious Five were the first to make the leap, earning a spot in 2007. They were followed by Run DMC (2009), Public Enemy (2013), Beastie Boys (2012), and N.W.A (2016). Tupac is the first solo hip-hop act to be inducted, and an obvious choice.
In just 25 years on Earth, Tupac sold 75 million records. His tireless work ethic is the stuff of legend, and resulted in ten studio albums, a burgeoning acting career, and ongoing adoration—decades after he was assassinated, Tupac’s music and message are more relevant than ever.
Rap’s recent assimilation into the Hall has its share of dissenters. But it’ll only increase from here, as hip-hop continues to assert itself as a globally beloved and malleable genre. Ice Cube’s acceptance speech earlier this year helped put the argument to rest. “Rock and roll’s not an instrument,” he said. “Rock and roll’s not even a style of music. Rock and roll is a spirit.” Ice Cube later responded to a disparaging Gene Simmons with a history lesson:
@genesimmons Who stole the soul? Chuck Berry, Little Richard and Chubby Checkers help invent Rock ‘n’ Roll. We invent it. Y’all reprint it.
— Ice Cube (@icecube) April 11, 2016
The induction ceremony doesn’t happen until April 2017. The question of who will speak on Tupac’s behalf is an interesting one, after his estate changed hands earlier this year.
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