The Rock & Roll Hall of Fame was a bit late to the game when it came to including hip-hop in its ranks. But since 2007, when Grandmaster Flash & the Furious Five became the first rap group inducted into the hall, the powers that be have been slowly welcoming the genre with the induction of Run-DMC, Beastie Boys, Public Enemy, N.W.A and, most recently, Tupac Shakur in 2017.
The Wu-Tang Clan, eligible since 2017, have yet to be on the ballot. But speaking to Rolling Stone, RZA says it’s time for the institution to rectify its Wu-less order. “I think we should [get in], and I do care,” the group’s leader says. “It may take some time to get in there. I think it’s good for us and I think it’s good for rock & roll, because hip-hop is a form of music that grabs from every genre, but definitely grabs from rock & roll.”
The rapper-producer likened the “spirit” of rock to rap as it relates to youth culture. “Rock & roll has a certain spirit; it was the spirit of the Sixties and Seventies youth,” he says. “Hip-hop is the Eighties, Nineties, up to now, the youth. It’s called hip-hop, but it’s in the same spirit of rock & roll at the end of the day. Lyrical, stories, music, unorthodox, dissonant sometimes, energetic, all the things that rock is and was, hip-hop embodies.”
RZA points to “Bring da Ruckus,” an aggressive, confrontational highlight from the group’s debut album Enter the Wu-Tang (36 Chambers), as blurring the line between the two genres.
“Listening to a song like ‘Bring da Ruckus,’ I thought I was making hip-hop, but shit, it has a motherfuckin’ rock & roll groove like a motherfucker. I don’t know how the fuck I did that. I go back and listen to some of the Beatles progressions and some of [Led] Zeppelin’s progressions and movements, like, okay, I was on some shit, though.”
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The group has been in a nostalgic mood recently, prepping for the May release of the four-part, career-spanning Showtime docuseries Of Mics and Men and the completion of Wu-Tang: An American Saga, an upcoming scripted Hulu series on the group’s formation co-created by the RZA.
This year’s Rock & Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremony will take place Friday night at Brooklyn’s Barclays Center. Def Leppard, Radiohead, Janet Jackson, the Zombies, the Cure, Stevie Nicks and Roxy Music will all be inducted.
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