WCBSTV.com is reporting that Grand Master Flash and the Furious Five have been inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame along with rockers such as R.E.M. and Van Halen. This is incredible news for rap and hip hop. One of music’s most respected organizations is paying homage to the humble beginnings of hip hop. I know many people wonder why it took so long for a rap artist to be included, well it’s because an artist can’t be admitted until 25 years after his or her first release (…hip hop started in ’78 or ’79… some people still dispute exactly when it began).
There has been roughly 30 years of progress in rap and hip hop and the art form has had an incredible yet interesting journey of evolution. When I think of other artists that will be possibly inducted into the Hall of Fame, many artists come to mind – Rakim, Tribe Called Quest, Sugar Hill Gang, Kool Moe Dee, The Roots, maybe even Will Smith (he did change the game as “The Fresh Prince” and he is the only rapper I know that can have an album out that has sold over 6 million copies and none of the hip hop enthusiasts around me have the cd…. (read that last line as “this shows his pop appeal”) or at worst have even heard it), but I have to say that I’m not sure that I feel that many of today’s artists will have earned their way into the musical community’s homage to creative greatness.
Randy Jackson, a session bassist extraordinaire most noted for his work with Mariah Carey and American Idol, states in Bass Guitar magazine that there isn’t a session scene any more. This is mainly because anyone can literally go to their local music store or craigslist, get a computer, pro tools, reason or logic, maybe a MPC and within a couple of hours they are a “producer”. Expertise and knowledge are no longer a “must have” in order to produce a track that gets heavy spins and forces the nation to learn the latest dance. It seems that if something is hot on the radio, simply mimicking those songs or artists becomes the road map to making money. A lot of rappers have reduced hip hop to a quick hustle, one that works on the positive side of the law. Also, it is my opinion a lot the quality control measures that the old Motowns and other labels had in place are no longer around and able to weed out sub-par music. You used to have to be really really good, but now you just have to be.
The point I am making is that, if we don’t take music more seriously, who from our era will be Hall of Fame worthy??? Seriously???