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Questlove defends rappers’ induction in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame

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Hip-hop artists have been inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in recent years, and the inclusion of rappers has brought with it considerable controversy. Since the induction of hip-hop pioneers Grandmaster Flash & the Furious Five in 2007, fellow legends such as Run-D.M.C., The Beastie Boys and Public Enemy have also joined icons of rock, soul and blues in the Rock Hall. Speaking to Rolling Stone at last week’s 2014 induction ceremony, Questlove shared his reaction to KISS guitarist/frontman Gene Simmons’ recent criticism of rappers being in the hall.

“There’s a checks-and-balance system,” Questo said. “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 [mindset] 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.”

Former Rage Against The Machine guitarist Tom Morello campaigned hard for KISS to be inducted. The band finally went into the Hall of Fame this year, having been eligible ever since 1999. Morello and Questlove are both members of the Hall of Fame committee.

“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 7. I was obsessed with them.”

Artists are eligible for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame 25 years after their first release.