This Is Why There Are Rappers In The Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall Of Fame

Being inducted into the Rock ‘n  Roll Hall of Fame is an achievement reserved for the finest musicians of all time. But why are there artists outside of the rock genre that are inducted? For example, why are there rappers in the Rock ‘n Roll Hall of Fame? We have the answer.

The Rock ‘n Roll Hall of Fame was established in 1983 to document the history of Rock ‘n Roll Music and its most influential artists. However, the definition of Rock ‘n Roll is not limited to a particular style. The genre has split into several disciplines or subgenres, including Rap music.

To put it quite simply, the Rock n’ Roll Hall of Fame has evolved into something that goes beyond Rock n Roll; it’s more of a Music Hall of Fame. But to understand how this ties into Rap music, we need to understand the origins of Rap music and how it relates to Rock ‘n Roll.

The History of Hip Hop

Hip Hop music, also known as Rap music, is a genre developed in The Brox, New York, in the 1970s, within African American and Latino American communities. Its stylistic origins are found in Jazz, Rhythm and Blues, Reggae, Funk, and Disco. However, it was only when the music started to incorporate hard funk and Rock that it spread across the globe and went mainstream in the 1990s with the “gansta rap” revolution that led to the success of Rock n Roll Hall of Fame inductees like Tupac, Public Enemy, Run DMC, and NWA.

Yet, ever since Rap music took form almost 50 years ago, it would branch off into a series of diverse subgenres, in the same way Rock ‘n Roll has diversified from its peak years in the 1960s and 1970s.

New School Hip Hop, popularized by artists such as Run DMC and LL Cool J, was perhaps the most significant cross-over between the Rap and Rock genres. It was characterized by drum-led minimalism that drew on influences from Rock music and more specific sounds that were commonplace in Heavy Metal at the time. This shift from the old-school, disco, synthesized sounds is what led to the Golden Age for Hip Hop Music, from the mid-80s to the mid-90s, when prominent artists like Jay Z, Snoop Dog, Dr Dre, Eminem, Bidrman, and countless others took their first steps on the scene.

The genre diversified further over the next decade. It even led to the emergence of the Rap Rock subgenre, which originated in the 80s but only gained genuine popularity in the early 2000s. Limp Bizkit, Rage Against the Machine, Red Hot Chilli Peppers, and Kid Rock all form part of the extensive list of Rap Rock artists that resonated with audiences worldwide.

And there have been plenty of rappers out there that have credited Rock music that has had a major influence on their careers and have sought to collaborate with Rock bands to produce genre cross-overs that have achieved tremendous commercial success.

Rap ‘n Roll Artists

If you’re looking for a few examples of the blend between Rap and Rock ‘n Roll, a few legendary rappers and rock bands have fused the genres to great effect in a way that has resonated with audiences.

Jay Z

Easily considered one of the greatest Hip Hop artists of all time, Jay Z, has won 23 Grammys (the most of any rapper). In 2004, he released the album Collision Course with Linkin Park. The album blended Progressive Rock, Hip Hop, and Heavy Metal. The mash-up “Numb/Encore” won a Grammy and went double-platinum in the United States.

Kanye West

Unquestionably one of the most influential figures in the development of Hip Hop in the 21st Century, Kanye West has never shied away from experimenting with new sounds. And incorporating Rock music into his albums, as was the case with the incredibly successful albums Graduation (2007) and 80s and Heartbreak (2008), West draws inspiration from Arena Rock bands like U2, The Roling Stones, and Led Zeppelin.

Lil Wayne

In 2010, Lil Wayne released Rebirth, which was the young rappers Rock music debut while already his seventh studio album. Selling more than a million copies in the United States, the rapper’s experimentation with the genre earned him a Grammy nomination. He also collaborated with Fall Out Boy in the album’s production.

Rage Against The Machine

Rage Against The Machine are true legends of the “Rap ‘n Roll” genre, fusing catchy spoken vocals with heavy metal instrumentals. At times, they have been referred to as the predecessors of the nu-metal genre. There’s no question that their various works, which sold a cumulative 16 million album copies worldwide, have had a profound influence on Rock, Rap, and all music in general. And their work in popularizing the “Rap ‘n Roll” sound cannot be understated.

Limp Bizkit

In the late 90s and early 2000s, there were few bigger acts out there than Limp Bizkit, who have served as a template for success for Rap Rock artists the world over. Lead singer Fred Durst’s hardcore, anger-infused vocal delivery incorporates rapping to produce incredibly successful albums that have sold more than 40 million copies worldwide.

Linkin Park

Already mentioned above, Link Park is an Alternative Rock band whose sound is a tale of two voices, the late Chester Bennington’s and Mike Shinoda’s. Their earlier music was a fusion of Heavy Metal and Hip Hop, with Bennington’s voice taking care of the “Rock” vocals, while Shinoda would come in with more rap-centric vocals. Their success in creating and cultivating this fusion was recognized by Jay-Z’s decision to collaborate with them. Their album sales of over 100 million copies worldwide also speak volumes about their success and how they’ve served not only in continuing the evolution of Rock music but Hip Hop as well.


Eminem played a huge role in fueling the tremendous success that Rap music has enjoyed over the last two decades. His Rap Rock song, “Lose Yourself,” peaked at number one on the Billboard 100 in 2002, showing off the tremendous potential that Rap had to displace Rock as the most popular musical genre, which it eventually would. The fusion of the two unquestionably warmed Rock music fans to Rap music would eventually lead to the surge in popularity for rap music by the end of the decade, eventually seeing it overtake Rock as the most popular music genre in 2017.

Other Rap n Roll Artists

There are plenty of other Rap Rock/Rap ‘n Roll artists out there who blend the sound to great effect and have spent an extended period of time at the top of the charts. Some other examples include POD, Papa Roach, Twenty-One Pilots, Post Malone, Korn, Beastie Boys, Bloodhound Gang, and countless others.

The Continued Evolution Of Hip Hop & Rock ‘n Roll

You’ll find many rappers being inducted into the Rock ‘n Roll Hall of Fame because you cannot clearly delineate Rap music from Rock in the same way that you can’t delineate other subgenres like Punk, Heavy Metal, or Progressive Rock. They all have common origins in the genre of Rock ‘n Roll. To clearly specify what Rock ‘n Roll is and what is not is to defy the essence of Rock ‘n Roll and place limits on creativity. Music is in a constant state of evolution, and the music we hear 50 years from now will be even more different from what we considered Rock ‘n Roll 50 years ago.

So, really, the injustice would be to put all music into clearly delineated boxes. This would be incredibly limiting for artists and would hamper the progress and evolution of music in general.

Rock ‘n Roll As Counter-Culture

To understand why rappers are inducted into the Rock ‘n Roll Hall of Fame, you first need to understand that there are no criteria for the genre when the nominating committee selects their names for who should and shouldn’t be inducted. The criteria for induction are based on the influence and significance of an artist’s work, their contributions towards the perpetuation of Rock ‘n Roll. They have to have had released their debut album at least 25 years before induction.

More importantly, Rock ‘n Roll Music isn’t about style; it’s about culture. When the Beatles, The Rolling Stones, and the other major bands of the 60s took the world by storm, they did so through a massive youth counter-culture movement. And in the 21t Century, there isn’t a genre out there that can compete with the counter-cultural influences that Rap has had on our society. And that’s why Beastie Boys, Tupac Shakur, Run DMC, and other rappers are worthy inductees. They have made just as big an impact on music of all genres as any of the incredible artists accompanying the famous list.


This is the Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame | Rock & Roll Hall of Fame

Hip-Hop In the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame: Who’s In, And What’s Its Future? | Billboard

Why are famous rappers and pop stars being inducted into the rock n’ roll hall of fame? | Reddit

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