Looking back, it looks like filmmaker John Singleton was on to something. During his run, aside from the film “Rosewood,” Singleton’s mining of untapped talent from Black music and trusting that they could carry the acting and marquee load was a gamble that has proved in the long run to have paid off. In retrospect, let’s go back to his second film. If you were to look at the trajectory of their careers, two members of that cast were fast tracked for Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductions.
Locally, we had Kamaal Ibn John Fareed, better known as Q-Tip, the wildly regarded front man of the group A Tribe Called Quest. At the time of the film’s release, the group had released two genre altering classic albums (“People’s Instinctive Travels and the Paths of Rhythm” and “The Low-End Theory”), with a third (“Midnight Marauders”) about to be released later that year. His love interest in the film, the central figure of the story, arguably served as the prototype of superstardom. By the time the film was set to be released, Janet Jackson was in the midst of a three-album run (“Control,” “Janet Jackson’s Rhythm Nation 1814” and “janet”) that set her at the very top of dominate runs the industry had seen.
Aside from the combined sales of the three multiplatinum albums, there were great songs and global tours. Sounds like a rock star to me. The film, titled “Poetic Justice,” featured a third musician, the films co-star in fact. Tupac Shakur at the time was a rap star in his own right—emphasis on the word star. He was such a lightning rod for media attention for his actions outside of the artistic realm, to the degree that his actual work as a musician flew under the radar. Although he was not the most lyrical of emcees, not too many delivered with the combined fury, passion and substance that he did.
This realization brings us to the ironies of ironies. In 2016, we have a brand-new album by A Tribe Called Quest that turned the industry on its ears, but it’s probably the last we’ll see of this collective. Soon the group will be nominated and hopefully will receive the call that will offer enshrinement. Janet Jackson, as crazy as it seems, was denied entry into the hallowed halls. Why? What hasn’t she done in the studio or onstage? Now the good news, Tupac Shakur will be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. One more time. Tupac Shakur will be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame! In the process, he becomes the sixth hip-hop act, after Run-D.M.C., Public Enemy, Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five and N.W.A., to attain inclusion.
Sidebar, what were the Beastie Boys?
With the criteria being an individual artist or band must have released their first single or album at least 25 years before the year of nomination, a chance existed for the “Poetic Justice” crew to march in together. But, although we praise Shakur, we see no nomination for A Tribe Called Quest and once again a snub for Jackson. Aside from the Jackson snub, no Chaka?
Then there’s the strange case of Nile Rodgers. As an individual, he will be honored with an Award for Musical Excellence, but his launching pad, the group Chic, failed to make the cut for the 11th time. Rodgers in an interview with Billboard magazine states, time to be voted into the Rock Hall. And the disparity has left him unsure of exactly how to feel about the award.
“I’m more shocked than anybody right now,” said Rodgers. “I’m blown over because I didn’t expect to be singled out of Chic. It’s just weird for me to be picked out of Chic and say, ‘Nile, you belong in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, but those other guys …’ Of course, I am flattered and honored like crazy, but it’s sort of bittersweet for me because of all the things I’ve done that I’m exceptionally proud of, I’m really proud of Chic.”
The 32nd Annual Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Induction ceremony will take place April 7, 2017, at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, N.Y., and the ceremony will be aired on HBO. Tickets for the event will go on sale in January.
Over and out. Happy holidays y’all. Holla next week. Til then, enjoy the nightlife.