It has been announced that late hip-hop icon Tupac Shakur will be inducted into the 2017 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Shakur was murdered in September 1996. His 1995 album, “Me Against the World” and his final 1996 release, “All Eyez on Me” hit No. 1 on the Billboard charts.
Although Shakur’s life was fraught with run-ins with the police and incarceration—at one point causing producer Suge Knight to put up $1.4 million for his bail after he was jailed for sexual assault— the rapper was able to etch his art into the global culture, as his image is painted on murals all over the world.
USA Today reports, “The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame’s Class of 2017 appears to have a little something for everyone.”
The six performer inductees announced Tuesday reflect a wide reach in time and style, ranging from Joan Baez, who began her folk career in the early 1960s, to Pearl Jam, a leader of the Seattle grunge sound, and the late rapper Shakur, who released hit albums in the 1990s.
The three other inductees include two English bands, Electric Light Orchestra and Yes, which broke through in the early 1970s, and San Francisco-based Journey, which scored its biggest hits, including the anthem “Don’t Stop Believin’,” in the 1980s.
Shakur, being the only Black artists inducted this year, creates a space and a benchmark for hardcore hip-hop artists and Black artists who lost their lives to gun violence. Gangta rap, although controversial, is a narrative that should be recognized as a valid voice of Black consciousness and artistic expression.