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Grandmaster Flash in Rock Hall of Fame

Grandmaster Flash has been nominated to be inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. He would be the first hip-hop artist to make it.

Personally, I hope he doesn’t get voted in. This thing seems like a ploy to keep the Hall relevant by recognizing hip-hop, the biggest selling music in the country for the last half decade. But we don’t need their validation, they need us. How about this- let’s start our own hall, then nominate some rock acts thirty years later.

About Hashim Warren

  • The Proprietor

    With all due respect to Grandmaster Flash and the early rap artists, the rock hall of fame has a lot of catching up to do in its own genre before inducting them. The most egregious example of this is that The Ventures have yet to be inducted. Their “Play Guitar With The Ventures” albums taught countless young players the fundamentals, and probably influenced as many guitarists as did Jimi, Jimmy and Eric. God bless them, they’re still going strong in their early 70s.

    Tell you what, let’s make a deal. I’ll support Grandmaster Flash and the Sugar Hill Gang for the rock hall of fame if you’ll nominate Paul Revere and the Raiders for the hip-hop hall. :-)

  • Eric Olsen

    in defense of the Rock Hall, the rules are you can’t be nominated until 25 years after your first nationally-released recording, ie, 1979 is the earliest eligible release date for this year’s class

  • Bill Lamb

    A first comment here –

    Rock and Roll Hall of Fame rules explicitly state that a performer can not be inducted until 25 years after release of their first recordings.

    Who that began releasing Hip-Hop recordings prior to Grandmaster Flash would you nominate for the Hall – Sugarhill Gang?

    Secondly, have you ever visited the Rock Hall? The Rock Hall is very very conscious of the role of Black American music in the history of Rock ‘n Roll. The materials in the Rock hall start with Blues History, as it should.

    Third, in my mind, Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five are fully deserving of being the first Hip-Hop artists (and most likely not the last) to be inducted to the Rock Hall. Stylistically, Grandmaster Flash’s music owes a great deal to classic R&B and Rock ‘n Roll

    Fourth, a Hip Hop Hall of Fame is a great idea. It’s perfectly fine for an artist to be honored by more than one organization. The O’Jays are nominated for membership in the Rock Hall this year as well, and they play a phenomenally important role in the history of Dance music – I wish them luck in being inducted into both the Rock Hall and the recently formed Dance Music Hall of Fame ( in the future.

    Finally, I think this comment from the web site says it well:

    ‘The most intriguing nomination among the 15 finalists for enshrinement in the 2005 class of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame is that of Grandmaster Flash & the Furious Five, who would become the first rap act inducted in the Hall. To be eligible for enshrinement, an artist’s initial release must be 25 years old. Flash & the Five released two singles, “Superappin” and “Freedom,” in late 1979 and early 1980, and the group’s recognition could be the beginning of a wave of hip-hop inductions into the Hall.’

    P.S. Yes, the Ventures are deserving. I grew up with my Dad’s Ventures LPs.

  • Hashim

    I stand corrected. Props to the collective editing power of open comments

  • Al Barger

    On the other hand, Grandmaster Flash did not write any real songs, nothing that anyone would ever cover. He did not play an instrument at all, let alone exceptionally, nor was he an interpreter of other people’s songs.

    In short, he completely does not deserve to be in the Hall of Fame with Elvis and Marvin Gaye on any kind of merit. Hell, on the merits Black Sabbath should be in before this guy.

  • Mark Saleski

    Grandmaster Flash did not write any real songs

    the same can be said for Elvis Presley.

  • Al Barger

    Yes, just that part. However, Elvis was, to understate the matter significantly, a major interpreter of popular songs. He was one singin’ SOB.

  • Mark Saleski

    most definitely.

  • Eric Olsen

    “The Message” and “White Lines” are total all-time classics, were absolutely created by the artists, are creative, conceptual, and musical masterpieces and have every ounce of ontological weight that any other rock-era songs have.

    That “Grandmaster Flash did not write any real songs” is ismply a vile canard.

  • Al Barger

    Vile canards are my specialty- especially when they’re TRUE. Those two recordings are THE only things that anyone would ever be able to cite from this artist, and they’re not that big a deal. “creative, conceptual, and musical masterpieces”? Puh-lease. Are you seriously going to argue that either one of these compositions are even vaguely in a league with “I Heard It Through the Grapevine” or “Brown Sugar”?

    Conceptual masterpieces? How? Cocaine is bad for you and you shouldn’t do it. What a frickin’ GENIUS he must have been to come up with that concept! He’s almost up there with Nancy Reagan’s inciteful “JUST SAY NO!” masterstroke.

    Did I mention the lack of any significant melody to either of these “songs”? Also, perhaps we could consider the lack of any interesting instrumental solos, or any… well, anything of significant musical merit whatsoever.

    Best I can say for him is that there was A decent hook in “The Message.” It didn’t that much really GO anywhere, but it was a decent single, maybe. That’s precious little on which to base a claim for the Hall of Fame.

    Hell, there was more developed songwriting, and more interesting arrangement and musicianship on the Milli Vanilli album.

  • Mark Saleski

    Grandmaster Flash basically invented the vocabulary of turntablism.

    songwriting has nothing to do with it.

    put that in your vile canard and smoke it.


    Al, you can reduce any song lyric to its basic message, your two examples are “I don’t like you cheating on me” and “Sex with young girls is enticing” neither of them represent epiphanies in songwriting, it was how they said it. Now take your vile canard and fly.

  • Al Barger

    Yes SFC, you could dumb down the lyrics to, say, Grapevine, but you’d miss a whole lot of nuance. The main thing, though, is that lyrics aside there is a MELODY there. There’s a real SONG. Also, there is some actual musicianship, arrangements and actual playing of instruments, not just scratching old records.

    Inventing “turntablism” means jack squat to me. This represents a cultural regression, musically. It’s a marginally interesting percussive effect, maybe, but not actual musicianship. Flash gets points DOCKED for fostering this movement.

  • Mark Saleski

    wow…al’s busting a double-dog vile canard on us!

  • Al Barger

    While I’m all vile-canarding on you, I’ll note that songwriting has EVERYTHING to do with it. If you don’t have a song underneath it, then you ain’t got a thing. It might not be written by the singer, but SOMEONE has to come up with a song, otherwise what’s the point of a record? You’re presenting a SONG. The rest of it is just the nice outfit that you’re using to dress it up.

  • Shark

    AL: “…SOMEONE has to come up with a song, otherwise what’s the point of a record?”

    A coffee table coaster?

    A frisbee?

    A way for a senatorial candidate to waste his time online?

  • Vile Canard

    Grandmaster Flash and Melle Melle. How ’bout that?

  • McSammee!

    You might not be a fan of the Flash, but at the moment, the Turntable is the best selling musical instrument in several countries incl the UK as well as japan, and possibly the USofA!! Early turntablists like Flash and DJ Herc influenced and inspired many young artists just as Jimi Hendrix did. There is a lot more to turntablism than just playing records, which is why there is the distinction between Turntablists and DJs these days. Also, despite not being “Rock” music per se, the music of Flash and other early hip hop acts is certainly more POLITICALLY relevant than elvis, or especially black sabbath. I like rock, but are messages of sex and alcohol consumption and satan etc really more meaningful than messages speaking out against drug use and racial oppression? I say you all just need to open your minds to slightly different music and accept that Flash is well deserving of induction.