Last Friday (April 8), N.W.A. was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, becoming the fifth hip-hop act to earn the honor, following Run-D.M.C., Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five, the Beastie Boys and Public Enemy. The achievement capped off what has been an extended retrospective and appreciation of the group, propelled by the 2015 biopic Straight Outta Compton. While cheers and congratulations have been the overriding sentiments for the group, KISS member Gene Simmons is disputing rap's place in the Hall, and N.W.A. member Ice Cube is here to fight him over it.

“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," Cube wrote on Twitter on Monday (April 11), quoting his own induction speech. "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.”

Simmons responded to the tweet, saying, "Cube - I stand by my words. Respect NWA, but when Led Zep gets into Rap Hall of Fame, I will agree with your point." It seems that semantics are at the core of this debate, with Simmons choosing to understand the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as a literal memorial to strictly rock acts. While there is a Rap Hall of Fame, to relegate hip-hop to this barely known and recognized institution would be to marginalize its role in American music and culture. 

At the induction ceremony, MC Ren called out Simmons, saying, "Hip-hop is here forever! Get used to it!" Read some of the tweets Cube and Gene Simmons exchanged below.

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