Tupac Shakur joins Rock and Roll Hall of Fame... but does he belong there?

Bethany Minelle, News Reporter

Tupac Shakur has become the first solo rapper to be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

The late star is only the sixth hip hop artist to be initiated in the hall's 30-year history - and the decision has raised eyebrows.

Shakur was killed at the age of 25 in a still unsolved drive-by shooting in Las Vegas in September 1996.

Son of political activists and former Black Panther members, he explored themes of social and racial injustice in some of his songs.

Selected on his first nomination , the honour reflects the continued influence of the rapper 20 years after his death.

According to the hall's website, artists are eligible for induction 25 years after the release of their first recording.

The criteria goes on: "Besides demonstrating unquestionable musical excellence and talent, inductees will have had a significant impact on the development, evolution and preservation of rock and roll."

The inductees are then voted on by music fans and 900 industry experts.

The rapper's life and music has sparked the release of documentaries, movies and a Broadway musical, although many would question his impact on rock and roll.

Predictably, people on Twitter have questioned why Shakur has made the cut when LL Cool J - who is widely considered to be rap's first superstar - is not a member.

Accepting the award on his friend's behalf, fellow rapper Snoop Dogg said they were there to "celebrate one of music's most prolific and outspoken artists as he's rightfully enshrined as one of the greatest musicians to ever do it".

Snoop went on: "Pac proved we ain't just a character out of someone else's story book. To be human is to be many things at once.

"Pac's a part of history for a reason because he made history. He's hip hop history. He's American history."

Last month Kiss frontman Gene Simmons said that although he "highly respects rap", the genre of hip hop does not belong in the rock hall.

He said: "The day Led Zeppelin gets put into the Hip Hop Hall of Fame is the day I will personally accept rap artists as being brought into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. It just ain't the same thing."

Hip hop artist Ice Cube - who was inducted into the Hall of Fame last year along with the five other members of NWA - said he thought Shakur would have "shown up" to receive the honour.

But he admitted: "I don't know if he'd be happy or not. Hip hop needs our own Hall of Fame."

The 1960s protest singer Joan Baez, British progressive rock group Yes, and Seattle-based grunge band Pearl Jam were also among the rock hall class of 2017.

Tributes were paid to the first ever member of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, Chuck Berry, who died last month at the age of 90, and Prince, who died of an accidental painkiller overdose in April 2016.

The 2017 induction ceremony will be broadcast on HBO on 29 April.

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