Questlove Discusses Rappers In The Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame
The Roots drummer responds to Gene Simmons' criticism of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame's inclusion of Hip Hop artists.
Last month in an interview with Radio.com, Gene Simmons, singer and guitarist for the Rock band Kiss, complained about the induction of Hip Hop artists like Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five and Run-DMC into The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Speaking with Rolling Stone on the night of the Hall of Fame’s recent induction ceremony, Questlove, who inducted the Philadelphia duo Hall & Oates into the Hall as a part of Thursday’s (April 10) celebration, responded to Simmons’ criticisms.
Questlove, who is an unabashed fan of the iconic hard Rock band, said it “would be so boring if everyone got along.”
“There's a checks-and-balance system,” he said when asked about Simmons’ perspective on rappers being recognized in the Hall. “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 mindstate 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.”
Questlove’s mention of Rage Against The Machine guitarist Tom Morello is in reference to the musician’s recent campaign to induct Kiss. "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 seven. I was obsessed with them."
The Mo’ Meta Blues’ author’s mention of 2 Chainz in reference to Simmons’ comments comes after last year’s criticism of the rapper in his memoir by Roots manager Rich Nichols. Contributing to the book in the form of footnoted commentary, Nichols directly chastised the rapper’s 2012 album Based On A T.R.U. Story.
"It's a fucking object lesson in thematic narrowness, one dumbass idea repeated over and over again," Nichols writes in Mo' Meta Blues. "There's a song called 'Crack' and then a song called 'Dope Peddler,' right next to each other. Then a little later there's a song called 'I Luv Dem Strippers.' I'm not knocking 2 Chainz, but what kind of market elevates him like that, at the expense of everything else?"
Recently added alongside Tom Morello as a member of the nominating committee for the Hall of Fame, Questlove also spoke with Rolling Stone about wanting to induct Sonic Youth, LL Cool J, and Rick James. "I would like to see LL Cool J get in," he said. "After reading Rick James' autobiography, he was probably more Rock, more arrogant, more brash...Rick James, I feel is worthy of it."
The Roots are currently preparing the release of a forthcoming album called ...and then you shoot your cousin. The first single to be released from the album came last week in the form of “When The People Cheer.” Last year The Roots released a collaborative LP with British songwriter Elvis Costello called Wise Up Ghost.