First rap group in Rock and Roll Hall of Fame makes history

By Katie McNulty
October 7, 2004

Scott Fobes

Grand Master Flash and the Furious Five steal the honor of being the first rap group to be nominated into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

In order to be eligible for a nomination, 25 years must pass since an artist released their first single. Grand Master Flash, the founding father of hip hop, released his first single, “Supperrappin,” in 1979. This nomination, some say, is a year over due.

Over the past couple years, hip hop and rap music have been climbing up the music charts taking the top spots and leaving rock music on the back burner.

TJ Crowthers, a sophomore at Cabrini College, said, “It’s about time someone gets recognition for the beginning of rap and hip hop. This is awesome that they are nominated.”

A Bronx native, Flash got his start behind turntables at local block parties in the early 1970s. Bill Gates founder of Microsoft, presented Flash with an award for being the first entertainer to use a turntable as a musical instrument. In the late 1970s Flash collaborated with rappers The Furious Five and released hits such as “The Message” and the break out club hit, “White lines (Don’t Don’t Do it).”

Flash is also largely credited as the creator of the Quick Mix, cutting and other DJ basics.

Despite these many firsts and achievements, this nomination has sparked some controversy among many critics. They argue the honor of being inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame will lose its value if rap artists are considered as nominees. Rap and hip hop have nothing to do with the birth of rock and roll and their nomination will take the spot of a rock group like Van Halen whom they feel is more deserving of a nomination.

Todd Mesek, the Hall of Fame’s senior marketing director, fires back at critics by saying, “African heritage is critical to rock’s development. Arguably all rock and roll came from, or at least was greatly influenced by, African culture. Rock and Roll came from R&B, jazz, and folk. All those genres before rock and roll came together to birth rock and roll.”

It looks like Grand Master Flash and the Furious Five are ushering a new era of hip hop nominees despite bitter critics. Other nominees for the year 2005 are U2, Randy Newman, The O’Jays, The Pretenders, Buddy Guy, Wanda Jackson, The J. Geils Band, Conway Twitty, Percy, The Sex Pistols, The Stooges, Lynyrd Skynyrd and Gram Parsons.

Typically six nominees will be chosen in November 2004 by an international body of 700 musical experts and the inductees will be announced in early December.

Earlier this year, Price, ZZ Top and George Harrison were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

Posted to Web by: Scott Fobes

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Katie McNulty

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