On Wednesday, Jay Z became the first rapper to be inducted in the Songwriters Hall of Fame. With a career spanning over 30 years, the Brooklyn rapper will join producers Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis, producer Max Martin, singer Babyface, Motown founder Berry Gordy Jr. and Chicago members Robert Lamm, James Pankow and Peter Cetera as the 2017 class.
In an announcement made on Wednesday, Hall of Fame co-chairs Kenneth Gamble and Leon Huff along with Songwriters Hall of Fame president Linda Moran said the organization has moved into “recognizing music creators of the 21st century while continuing to honor the greats of earlier decades.”
Jay Z, pictured on Feb. 11, 2017 in Los Angeles, became the first rapper inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame. Photo: Getty Images
While Jay Z’s induction into the hall of fame is welcomed, there are still a number of rappers who deserve to be inducted as well. Check out our list of six other rapper who should be in the Songwriters Hall of Fame:
The late 2Pac became an inductee to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2016, so an inclusion in the Songwriters Hall of Fame shouldn’t be far away, but the West Coast legend should have been included years ago. While the rapper’s career was cut short by an early death, his influence is still felt in music today and many of his songs are considered classics, and not just in hip-hop.
2. Chuck D Of Public Enemy
With the current climate of society many rappers have begun to make their songs more political, but Chuck D of Public Enemy was doing it back in the 1980s and 1990s. Considered to be one of hip-hop’s greatest rappers, Chuck D, along with Flavor Flav and the rest of the group helped Public Enemy, became one of music’s most critically acclaimed bands thanks to his poetic, pro-black lyrics which were always socially conscious.
Although Eminem’s later career may not match up well with his early career, some of the rapper’s early works are considered to be hip-hop classics. From 1999 to 2002, when Eminem released “The Slim Shady LP,” “The Marshall Mathers LP” and “The Eminem Show,” the Detroit rapper cemented his place as one of hip-hop’s greatest rappers. Thanks to his shocking lyrics, personal stories and unparalleled wordplay, there aren’t many rappers who could hold a candle to early-Eminem.
4. Ice Cube And MC Ren Of N.W.A
Like 2Pac, N.W.A’s career was short, but their impact on music was large. While Dr. Dre and Eazy-E may have been the most popular members of the group during their peak, it was members Ice Cube and MC Ren who were responsible for penning the group’s biggest hits such as “Straight Outta Compton” and “Express Yourself.” Although Eazy and Dr. Dre’s verses may be memorable, it was Cube and Ren who came up with the lyrics for them.
As rap was coming out of its party-like style from the early and mid-1980s, Rakim — one half of the duo Eric B. & Rakim — help pioneered a new a style that would become the blueprint for east coast hip-hop. While other rappers were still using the old school “wave your hands in the air” rap style, Rakim introduced new vocabulary and techniques that still sound fresh today.
6. The Notorious B.I.G.
MTV, The Source, Billboard, Rolling Stone; those are just some of the publications which have listed The Notorious B.I.G. as top five greatest rapper of all time. Since his career was cut short in 1997, Biggie’s influence on the genre is still felt today thanks to rappers like Jay Z and Pusha T. The rapper’s ability to paint a scene when rapper cannot be matched by many rappers, past or present.
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