Public Enemy black and white photoshoot in 1987
Source: Jack Mitchell/Getty Images.

Rappers You Didn't Know Were in the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame

People often forget rappers are also honorees of accolades like the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame! Check out a few who have been celebrated.


Oct. 4 2023, Updated 9:19 a.m. ET

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The Rock & Roll Hall of Fame honors legendary musicians who have left an indelible mark on the music industry.

While the name suggests a focus on rock music, the Hall of Fame has expanded its horizons to recognize artists from other genres — including rap.

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To receive such an honor, one must make a helluva impression on the music industry and the world at large. And the following rappers have done exactly that...

The latest rappers to join the Hall of Fame gang include Missy Elliot and Eminem, but they aren't the only rap artists that the title has been bestowed upon in the last couple of decades. Read on for more!

Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five

The Furious Five attend the 2023 MTV Video Music Awards at the Prudential Center on September 12, 2023 in Newark, New Jersey
Source: Jamie McCarthy/WireImage

Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five were inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2007. They were the first rap group to nab this recognition.

Known for their classic track, "The Message," they were trailblazers who used rap to address social issues. Their success was largely thanks to Grandmaster Flash, who pioneered the art of turntablism. Before long, the group's socially conscious lyrics and innovative DJ techniques took over the globe.

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Run D.M.C. raps on stage.
Source: Steve Rapport/Getty Images

Run-D.M.C., consisting of Joseph "Run" Simmons, Darryl "D.M.C." McDaniels, and Jason "Jam Master Jay" Mizell, received this honor in 2009.

They fused rock and rap with their hit single — "Walk This Way" — which featured Aerosmith. Their self-titled album was a turning point in hip-hop history, and it helped to break down barriers by blending the worlds of rock and rap. Run-D.M.C.'s timeless sound still resonates to this day.

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Public Enemy

Flav, Chuck D, Professor Griff  at the Montreux Festival in 1988
Source: Suzie Gibbons/Redferns

Public Enemy, led by Chuck D, was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2013.

Their studio album It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back is considered one of the greatest rap albums of all time — not to mention that they were outspoken advocates for social justice. Public Enemy's powerful lyrics and political activism made them a force to be reckoned with in the world of rap. They were pioneers of conscious hip-hop and unarguably deserved the recognition they got.

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Rappers N.W.A. (back) Dr. Dre, Laylaw from Above The Law, The D.O.C. (front) Ice Cube, Eazy-E., MC Ren and DJ Yella pose for a photo.
Source: Boyd/Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

N.W.A. — made up of the late Eazy-E, Ice Cube, Dr. Dre, MC Ren, and DJ Yella — definitely earned their place in the Hall of Fame.

Straight Outta Compton was a game-changer for gangsta rap that challenged societal norms and sparked conversations. N.W.A.'s unapologetic and provocative music pushed boundaries and challenged the status quo. They were inducted by fellow California native Kendrick Lamar in 2016.

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Shawn Carter AKA Jay-Z attends "The Harder They Fall" World Premiere during the 65th BFI London Film Festival at The Royal Festival Hall on October 06, 2021 in London, England.
Source: Karwai Tang/WireImage

Jay-Z, one of hip-hop's living legends, was inducted into the Rock Hall's Class of 2021. His induction just so happened to fall on the 25th anniversary of his iconic debut album, Reasonable Doubt.

The Brooklyn native's lyrical superiority and storytelling ability are two tenets that have made him a prominent figure in the rap world.

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Tupac Shakur

Tupac wears tweed suit jacket and blue bandana and smiles.
Source: Getty Images

Tupac Shakur, one of the most iconic rappers on the planet, was posthumously inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2017. He was the first solo rapper to accomplish this.

Known for his introspective and poetic lyricism, Pac left a lasting impact on rap. His albums All Eyez on Me and Me Against the World are classics. Any hip-hop head would agree that his raw and emotionally charged rhymes remain the blueprint for a successful rap career.

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The Notorious B.I.G

Biggie Smalls wears a colorful shirt and raps on stage.
Source: Chris Walter/WireImage

The Notorious B.I.G. is yet another iconic rapper who, to this day, continues to inspire conversation.

Biggie posthumously secured his place in the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame during the pandemic on November 7, 2020. The institution acknowledged his prophetic releases — specifically Ready to Die and Life After Death — as prominent records in hip-hop.

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LL Cool J

LL Cool J wearing a red Kangol hat, airbrushed t-shirt, and gold chain in a 1987 photoshoot.
Source: Paul Natkin/WireImage

LL Cool J was inducted into the Hall of Fame on the same night as Jay-Z in 2021.

LL Cool J's career took off at a young age when he signed to Def Jam Records and released his debut album, Radio, in 1985. With hits like "I Can't Live Without My Radio" and "Rock the Bells," the album's success catapulted him into stardom, thus establishing him as one of rap's legends.

The author’s content and opinions have not been pre-reviewed, approved or endorsed by Discover.

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