N.W.A. says they’re rock and roll; Gene Simmons disagrees (again)

Posted by on April 11, 2016

rock-and-roll-hall-of-fame-300x240The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremony took place this past Friday (8), and as per usual, it wasn’t without at least a bit of controversy. N.W.A. was among the inductees, and while the pioneering gangster rap collective wasn’t the first hip-hop group to be chosen for the Hall (they’re the fifth, actually), it was enough to chap KISS bassist Gene Simmons’ tanned and mottled hide. In a Rolling Stone interview last month, he said he couldn’t wait for rap to be dead. While being inducted, MC Ren addressed Simmons, stating “I want to say to Mr. Gene Simmons that hip-hop is here forever. We’re supposed to be here.”

Ice Cube went further, stating that just because they don’t play guitars, it doesn’t mean that N.W.A. isn’t rock and roll:

“Are we rock’n’roll? And I say – you’re goddamn right we’re rock’n’roll. Rock’n’roll is not an instrument. It’s not even a style of music. It’s a spirit that’s been going on since the blues, jazz, bebop, soul, rock’n’roll, R&B, heavy metal, punk rock, and yes, hip-hop. Rock’n’roll is not conforming to the people who came before you, but creating your own path in music and life. That is rock’n’roll and that is us.”

Given that Madonna, Bill Withers, the Beastie Boys and Abba are all inductees in the Rock Hall, it seems like Simmons doesn’t have too much of a leg to stand on, but that’s not stopping him from continuing to bemoan the fact that it’s not just rock artists being inducted, as he responded via tweet:


He kind of has a point, but at the same time, the Rock Hall of Fame is a ridiculous institution. Steve Miller ripped into the Hall both during his induction and more incisively, backstage. He used his induction speech to suggest that they should be more inclusive of women and support music education in schools. Backstage, he said that he only got two tickets, one for him and one for his wife, and when he asked for more for his band, he was told they were $10,000 each. Furthermore, according to Pitchfork:

At one point, a Rock Hall publicist attempted to interrupt Miller and tell him to wrap it up. “No, we’re not going to wrap this up—I’m going to wrap you up,” he responded. “You go sit down over there and learn something.” He also held two fingers very close together and said, “This is how close this whole show came to not happening because of the way the artists are being treated.”

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