2Pac Among the 2017 Inductees Into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame
The 2017 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame class has been announced and 2Pac will be the sixth hip-hop artist to be inducted into the Hall next spring. The late rap legend will be joining arena rockers Journey, prog band Yes, symphonic pop-rock outfit Electric Light Orchestra, 90s grunge stars Pearl Jam, and 60s folk icon Joan Baez.
Chic founder Nile Rodgers will be honored with the Award For Musical Excellence
For 2Pac and Pearl Jam, they are officially the first artists inducted into the Rock Hall who began their careers in the 1990s. Artists are eligible for nomination for induction 25 years after their first recordings. This was both acts' first year of eligibility.
Tupac Shakur emerged in the early 1990s, first as a supporting member of Digital Underground, and then as a fiery solo star after the release of 1991s 2Pacalypse Now and a star-making performance in the urban coming-of-age drama Juice. From there, 2Pac would go on to become one of the most controversial figures in music, known for his outspokenness on social issues and a penchant for getting into trouble, which culminated in him being shot in New York City in 1994, just before he faced trial for sexual assault.
After his conviction, Shakur was sentenced to prison in early 1995. His nine months incarcerated only elevated his notoriety, as he became the first imprisoned artist to have an album debut at No. 1 with 1995s acclaimed Me Against the World. Upon his release near the end of that year, 2Pac would sign with the infamous Death Row Records and Suge Knight, and at the top of 1996, he released the multiplatinum double album All Eyez On Me. Another several months of controversy followed, as Shakur engaged in a war of words with New York-based Bad Boy Records. At the height of his infamy, Shakur was murdered in Las Vegas in September 1996. In the 20 years since, his music and image have become among the most celebrated in hip-hop and he's become one of the most influential artists in music.
Rogers' band Chic has famously been passed over 11 times for Hall of Fame induction, something Rogers addressed to Rolling Stone when discussing his award.
"It's sort of bittersweet," says Rodgers. "I'm quite flattered that they believed that I was worthy, but my band Chic didn't win. They plucked me out of the band and said, 'You're better than Chic.' That's wacky to me ... I am flattered and I think it's cool, but I feel like somebody put me in the lifeboat and told my family they can't get in."
During their 2016 induction speech, the members of N.W.A. addressed the controversy surrounding rappers being inducted into the Rock Hall after KISS bassist Gene Simmons slammed the decision to honor the Compton-based rap group.
“I want to say to Mr. Gene Simmons that hip-hop is here forever. We’re supposed to be here,” said MC Ren as the crowd cheered with approval, according to Rolling Stone.
“The question is, ‘Are we rock ‘n’ roll?'” Cube asked the audience. “And I say — you goddamn right we rock ‘n’ roll.”
2Pac joins N.W.A., Public Enemy, Run-D.M.C., the Beastie Boys and Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five as the hip-hop artists who have been inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Having been nominated for the second year in a row, veteran R&B acts Janet Jackson and Chaka Khan once again did not make the final induction class.
The induction ceremony will be held at Brooklyn's Barclays Center on April 7th, 2017.