The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inducts it's 2017 class tonight (April 7), and hip-hop fans are excited to see the legendary Tupac Shakur headed into the Hall of Fame in his first year of eligibility. Hip-hop in the "rock" hall has garnered criticism and controversy ever since Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five were inducted back in 2007; but even with the Hall's somewhat-antiquated title and aesthetic, hip-hop has become a steady fixture among the Hall's inductees over the last near-decade.
Run-D.M.C., Public Enemy, the Beastie Boys all followed Flash and the Furious Five into the Hall, where artists become eligible 25 years after their first commercial release. And, interestingly, at this point, there are more hip-hop acts in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame than heavy metal (Metallica, Black Sabbath) or progressive rock (Genesis, Pink Floyd, Rush) bands.
Regardless, there are hip-hop acts who are eligible that we'd like to see get the nod. Here are ten artists we think are due to bum rush the Rock Hall. Don't make 'em wait too long.
LL Cool J
He's been eligible since 2010, he has several platinum albums and hit singles to his credit; and is one of the most iconic rappers of all time. LL is a game changer and a superstar. He should be a no-brainer. Should've gone first ballot.
He was hip-hop's first mainstream solo star, had the first gold and platinum hip-hop singles and was the first rapper to sign with a major label. He's been eligible since 2005, but so far, the only early hip-hop stars to get into the Rock Hall have been Grandmaster Flash & the Furious Five (2007.)
She wasn't the first female rapper, but she is arguably the most important female rapper. Lyte proved that a woman could rock the mic and sustain a lengthy, noteworthy career. She enjoyed 10 years of critical respect and commercial success and was the first solo female hip-hop artist to have a gold record. Eligible since 2013.
Eric B. and Rakim
Rakim is undeniably a game changer. The most important emcee to ever pick up a mic and still one of the flat-out best lyricists ever, he and his partner Eric B. form one of hip-hop's most influential duos. What Hendrix is to the guitar's evolution, Rakim is to the art of rhyme. Eligible since 2012.
They may not have become crossover superstars, but that's precisely why Gang Starr is so important. DJ Premier and the late Guru became eligible for Rock Hall induction in 2015 and you'd be hard-pressed to find an act more influential on underground East Coast hip-hop.
His raunchy raps made him a star and his longevity made him a legend. Too $hort has been eligible for induction since 2013, and he may be something of a long shot, but the Short Dog's legacy is undeniable. West, South, Midwest and East Coast--everybody's got a little Too $hort in them.
De La Soul
Eligible as of 2014, De La Soul is as important to hip-hop's more left-leaning acts as Public Enemy is to the more politically-minded and N.W.A. is to the hardcore gangstas. Both of those groups are in the Hall now--it's time for Pos, Dave and Maseo to get their nod.
He becomes eligible this year (as a solo artist) and there's no denying that Scarface has the acclaim, the commercial success and the cultural significance to be inducted. He's one of the most influential rappers to ever do it; and he's as respected as he is important.
A Tribe Called Quest
Tribe became eligible for the Rock Hall in 2015, and with the passing of Phife Dawg, it seems appropriate (but bittersweet) that they get a nod for next year. Legacy? Undeniable. They're too beloved an act to have to wait too long. And now, especially, the world wants to celebrate their significance.
The legendary duo will become eligible in 2018, and Dre and Big Boi are more than deserving. Their across-the-board appeal and undeniable legacy as southern rap pioneers and overall musical innovators make them a no-brainer for the Hall of Fame. Now that rappers being inducted regularly, there's no argument to be made against 2 Dope Boyz getting a nod.