In recent years, I've grown tired of hearing people who would classify themselves as music lovers offering vaguely snide comments about rap and Hip hop artists making the grade in the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. I heard a few doubting comments about Run-DMC, more with Grandmaster Flash and The Furious Five, interestingly not too much when Beastie Boys, then again a few more when Public Enemy made the cut time around.
As a self-confessed white guy, I wish to object to all those who wonder aloud, "What does Hip Hop and Rap have to do with Rock & Roll?" To restate what should be obvious, Rock & Roll means many things to many people. Lest we ever forget, Rock & Roll was the explosive result of an extraordinary chemical reaction that occurred back in the Fifties when the thrilling music of great Black America artists and the similarly brilliant rootsy sounds of great white artists came together to create something new under the sun -- a giant youth movement supernova called Rock & Roll.
Since then, the notions of what exactly constitutes Rock & Roll -- and Rock without the aforementioned Roll -- have never stopped shifting. But let there be no doubt that our greatest rappers yesterday and today have a direct, profound and legitimate connection to the energy, rebellious spirit and lyrical directness of our Rock & Roll groundbreakers like Chuck Berry and Little Richard and beyond. These connections go far beyond race. That's why Eminem -- who memorably inducted Run-DMC into the Rock Hall -- will obviously belong in the Hall someday soon, and why my friend LL COOL J -- clearly one of rap's defining superstars who's on the ballot this year -- has very much earned his place in the Rock Hall.
Beyond all he has done for Rap, the fact is that LL has become one of the most enduring and inspiring success stories to ever come out of Hip hop. And let's not underestimate the fact that a key figure in Rap history has now for years served as the excellent host for Music's Biggest Night, The Grammy Awards. As I see it --and hear it -- having a great and influential Hip Hop artists -- like LL COOL J -- in the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame only make the Hall that much cooler.
And when LL COOL J is in the Rock Hall, I pity the fool who tries to break in and rob the joint.