Why Hip Hop Needs Its Own Hall of Fame

Why Hip Hop Needs Its Own Hall of Fame

The Rock n Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland is good, for those who play, follow and love rock music but let’s be honest, that’s largely pop culture and from day one hip hop has been its own culture (just like Rock N Roll was intially), hence why it was created. So many quality, smart and innovative hip hop artists will never be included in the halls of the Cleveland institution because they didn’t cross over in to pop or make enough noise in hip hop to warrant cross cultural attention.

Yes Public Enemy got in the Rock Hall last year but their music (and message), was as they would say “was louder than bomb”, you simply couldn’t ignore them or current nominee N.W.A.

But what about Eric B. & Rakim? Most hip hop heads will tell Rakim is one of the top five MCs to ever touch a mic, same goes for Nas, and include Big Daddy Kane in that club. Top shelf artists who changed the game but might not garner a ton of attention outside of the hip hop realm.

We as hip hop fans can’t keep waiting for the rock hall to honor our pioneers and heroes, yes LL Cool J is on the ballot for the rock hall this year but so many of his contemporaries need to be acknowledged too. How can you have LL and not have his nemesis Kool Moe Dee?

It’s the same as the International Motorsports Hall of Fame in Talladega Alabama and the recently opened NASCAR Hall of Fame in Charlotte, North Carolina. One honors the biggest and best names in the entire racing genre; the other celebrates those who were legends in one specific kind of racing. There is a need, love and following for both, so that all who were great can get their due. Now true some people may be in both because they were genre bending and simply on an elite level, but that doesn’t mean others who were dominating in their field can’t get their propers too.

Hip hop is no different, you have some rock influenced music like Run DMC & Beastie Boys but the key is in the late 80’s hip hop really came into its own and that needs to be celebrated as well as taught.

Most hip hop is at its best when it’s fairly raw & unpolished, so many artists who the mainstream music media might not give a lot of love to are the very reason a hip hop hall has to be created. Artists like Boogie Down Productions (which featured KRS-1 and the late Scott LaRock), The Geto Boys (which brought us Scarface, Bushwick Bill & syndicated advice columnist Willie D), Too Short, MJG & 8 Ball and local legends Twista & Common. These cats have put in decades of work, pioneered their styles and put their cities on the map deserve recognition for their efforts, success and blazing the trail for new cats.

Any hall of fame isn’t just about just honoring past icons, it’s about teaching the history of that genre and even talking about those who are great right now. Hip hop has a solid 30 year history as mainstream music and add another five since the first legit hit record (Rapper’s Delight by the Sugar Hill Gang). This needs to be documented and posted so the past of the culture can be passed down since many hip hop fans weren't even born in the genre's infancy.

Now where should this hall be located? Well New York City and I’m sure people from all five boroughs will put their two cents in on which one but because of so many early hip hop artists hail from Queens, Hollis Queens to be exact.

The hall should be like hip hop and have directional corridors for each section, east coast, west siide, down south and of course midwest.

Also there needs to be a section dedicated to the influences that made hip hop like Motown, jazz & blues as well as the influences hip hop as made on society.

And to be included are some of the iconic hip hop memorobila of the last 30 years, phat gold ropes, Nike shoes, Jeep Grand Cherokees and individual artifacts from various artists and shows.

Lastly there has to be a "Dead Homies" corridor that honors those artists no longer with us and that list is significant with 2Pac, Notorious BIG, Big Pun, Big L, Eazy E and others.

So this is not against the Rock Hall but just so the historical & culutral significance of is not lost, forgotten or taken for granted.

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    Charles W. Johnson

    I'm a lifelong writer (since I was 8 years old), and have been doing this blog in some form or fashion since 2004. I'm a DePaul University alum, class of 1999 and prior to that Brother Rice class of 1994. . And I appreciate you taking to the time to read what I have to say, feel free to email charles.w.johnson@hotmail.com

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