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Rock Hall of Fame leaves rappers out of its new class

November 29, 2005|Chris Lee | Special to The Times

Rock and Roll Hall of Fame voters have chosen an eclectic new class broad enough to encompass jazz trumpeter Miles Davis and the punk-pioneering Sex Pistols, but they once again snubbed rap.

Other members of the induction class announced Monday were Black Sabbath, Lynyrd Skynyrd and Blondie.

For a second consecutive year, hip-hop's prime candidate, Grandmaster Flash, failed to gather the necessary support from the 700 rock historians overseeing nominee selection.

"Rap is the most important cultural phenomenon this country has ever exported," Russell Simmons, a trailblazing hip-hop business owner, said Monday. "I shudder to think that an institution like the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame can continue to exist and ignore hip-hop."

"It's blasphemous," added Public Enemy frontman Chuck D. "We can't afford to have another piece of black art history go undocumented."

For The Record
Los Angeles Times Wednesday December 07, 2005 Home Edition Main News Part A Page 2 National Desk 1 inches; 61 words Type of Material: Correction
Rock and Roll Hall of Fame -- An article in the Nov. 29 Calendar section said new wave band Blondie had been voted into the Hall of Fame after being nominated on four previous occasions. The band had been eligible for induction since 2001 but until this year was not on the list of final nominees from which inductees are selected.

Acts are eligible 25 years after releasing their first recording. Musicians who debuted in 1980 could be elected this year, but the hall's nomination committee found exactly zero names from that field worthy of induction.

That opened the doors for a number of acts that had been given years of chilly treatment from hall voters. They had been excluded due to the disdain of music critics (Skynyrd and Sabbath), a perception that they belonged in a different music genre's shrine (Davis) or the simple fact that their body of work was too small (the single-album Sex Pistols). The final wallflower was Blondie, the New York new wave band that was nominated four times before voters deemed it essential to the hall's gallery.

Grandmaster Flash could not be reached for comment Monday, but Simmons said his omission isn't entirely bad news.

"As soon as jazz, blues and rock 'n' roll became accepted by the mainstream, they suddenly became ... less shiny," he said. "If the trend of mainstream acceptance killing musical genres and cultural phenomenons continues, hip-hop can stay as far away from the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as possible."

*

Times staff writer Geoff Boucher contributed to this report.

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