The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Class of 2017 will induct the late rapper Tupac Shakur, who released a string of hit albums in the 1990s. The other inductees include Pearl Jam, two English bands, Electric Light Orchestra (ELO) and Yes, which broke through in the early 1970s, and San Francisco-based Journey, which scored its biggest hits, including the anthemic Don’t Stop Believin’, in the 1980s.
Producer, songwriter and guitarist Nile Rodgers will receive the Award for Musical Excellence.
Tupac’s nomination drew criticism by fans because they consider his music to be outside the genre. This is not the first time a rapper or rap group nomination has been criticized. Earlier hip-hop inductees, such as N.W.A., Public Enemy and Grandmaster Flash did not receive a warm response either. KISS icon Gene Simmons has been a noted critic of rap and hip-hop over the years and was opposed of N.W.A’s nomination in 2016.
Hall of Fame CEO Joel Peresman disagrees. “It’s a broad definition and we consider hip-hop an important part of the whole genre.”,
“Rock and roll means so many things to so many different people,” he says. “To have a class that has everything from Joan Baez to Tupac Shakur, from Pearl Jam to Yes, is terrific. It gives a lot of people something to hang onto.”
Shakur and Pearl Jam are first-time nominees became eligible just this year, as the hall of fame will only consider performers 25 years after the release of their first single or album.
More than 900 voters from the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Foundation were eligible to vote for their choices. Fans also voted online for there favorite artist.
The new hall members being honored at the 32nd annual Rock and Roll Hall Of Fame Class Of 2017 induction ceremony on April 7 at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, N.Y. The induction ceremony will have its television premiere on HBO.
To learn more about the inductees and history visit the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame website.