Questlove Discusses Rappers In The Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame

The Roots drummer responds to Gene Simmons' criticism of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame's inclusion of Hip Hop artists.

Last month in an interview with Radio.com, Gene Simmons, singer and guitarist for the Rock band Kiss, complained about the induction of Hip Hop artists like Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five and Run-DMC into The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Speaking with Rolling Stone on the night of the Hall of Fame’s recent induction ceremony, Questlove, who inducted the Philadelphia duo Hall & Oates into the Hall as a part of Thursday’s (April 10) celebration, responded to Simmons’ criticisms.

Questlove, who is an unabashed fan of the iconic hard Rock band, said it “would be so boring if everyone got along.”

“There's a checks-and-balance system,” he said when asked about Simmons’ perspective on rappers being recognized in the Hall. “The world would be so boring if everyone got along. It's supposed to piss your parents off. Now they're the parents. So I feel like I see the art in the Bomb Squad for Public Enemy. I see the art in 2 Chainz. And sometimes you just have to be in a certain mindstate to want to be open to new ideas. Some people in music are open; some people aren't. But we're not finished. It's not like, ‘Let's pack our bags and go home, guys. We're not allowed here.’ Nah. I'm here to make changes, and hopefully I can pull a Morello next year.”

Questlove’s mention of Rage Against The Machine guitarist Tom Morello is in reference to the musician’s recent campaign to induct Kiss. "He sold all of us on why they deserve to be in it," Questlove said, "I thought about it, because even with me being connected to Hip Hop, my greatest story in my book Mo' Meta Blues is how I met these guys at the age of seven. I was obsessed with them."

The Mo’ Meta Blues’ author’s mention of 2 Chainz in reference to Simmons’ comments comes after last year’s criticism of the rapper in his memoir by Roots manager Rich Nichols. Contributing to the book in the form of footnoted commentary, Nichols directly chastised the rapper’s 2012 album Based On A T.R.U. Story.

"It's a fucking object lesson in thematic narrowness, one dumbass idea repeated over and over again," Nichols writes in Mo' Meta Blues. "There's a song called 'Crack' and then a song called 'Dope Peddler,' right next to each other. Then a little later there's a song called 'I Luv Dem Strippers.' I'm not knocking 2 Chainz, but what kind of market elevates him like that, at the expense of everything else?"

Recently added alongside Tom Morello as a member of the nominating committee for the Hall of Fame, Questlove also spoke with Rolling Stone about wanting to induct Sonic Youth, LL Cool J, and Rick James. "I would like to see LL Cool J get in," he said. "After reading Rick James' autobiography, he was probably more Rock, more arrogant, more brash...Rick James, I feel is worthy of it."

The Roots are currently preparing the release of a forthcoming album called ...and then you shoot your cousin. The first single to be released from the album came last week in the form of “When The People Cheer.” Last year The Roots released a collaborative LP with British songwriter Elvis Costello called Wise Up Ghost.

RELATED: The Roots - 2014 Roots Picnic Lineup Hosted By Questlove

13 Comments

  • Anonymous

    America's Top House Negro Discusses Rappers In The Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame

  • AlmostHuman

    The lame reporting of Rolling Stone...what they didnt go on to say is that Gene said there should be a hip hop hall of fame...I 100% agree with Gene...LL Cool J (as much as i love his music) has no place in the RNRHOF...If he or any other hip hop artist gets inducted, they should change the name to the Pop Hall Of Fame...Hip Hop in the RNRHOF makes about as much sense as Slayer in the Country Music Hall Of Fame

  • Anonymous

    Canibus is the God MC.

    • son of a sax

      WHOOPS!!! I posted under the wrong header. LOL!!! Its just another manic Monday. SMH, This was meant to be posed under yourpappap.

    • son of a sax

      Wise words being spoken, but I think they could build 1ne. It woundn't be large. Like the Rock and Roll or Basketball. It would be on a much smaller scale. But there are boatloads of artist/groups who should get the honor. I mean, the list goes on and on. But you're absolutley right, Eminem and even Kanye(College Dropout was a 5 mic classic and he is a talent)are the last truly deserving of being placed in a HOF. The rest, are just on the spot hot pocket emcees. That never fill you up.

  • yourpappap

    The reason there shouldn't be a hip hop hall of fame is because hip hop is not based on art any more. It's based on who sells the most and who's young. It's the ONLY genre in the world where so-called supporters shit on rapper/emcees because they are old- there's no respect. Understand now? Hip Hop is a joke. Sure hip hop is alive in the underground but there isn't enough attention to consider anybody 'legendary' these days because of the lack of attention. Radio, rappers like 2 chains,chief keep and crap like that, and especially so-called fans are to blame to the watered down version of hip-hop we see today. The world, except for younger, drug taking teenagers who are worried about being 'cool', look down on hip hop. That's the simple truth. Sure, there may be a push for a hip hop hall of fame but nobody would give a fuck, believe that.

  • Thinker

    We should be thinking why is there no official Hip-Hop Hall of Fame? Hip-Hop is not Rock & Roll, it is a lifestyle, B-Boying, Graffiti, Breakdancing, Rapping and Beat-boxing . Hip-Hoppers create our own classification for induction and we should have a platform to start inducting artists into our OWN Hall of Fame, because really, Hip-Hop sets a different level to anything that has come before it in its ability to incorporate and elevate all types of music. We should not let others set our standards, we should set our own!

    • Anonymous

      ...another annual event to report on like freshmen class, or the bet cyphers. It'll also be a jumpoff point for classic artists to be appreciated again.

    • Anonymous

      Those are good ideas fellows. The moguls need to get together and establish something like this. even if its small and online to start. Hell, even publications like the cartel and hhdx could do this.

    • TRE

      Exactly, I don't even want to be in the Rock & Roll H.o.F. I would much rather there be a Hip-Hop HOF with a section for Emcees, Dancers, DJ's & Graff artists. That would be dope af, that's Hip-Hop.

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