Public Enemy‘s Chuck D had high praise for Kiss ahead of their induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, telling Billboard, “Personally, I always felt Kiss deserved to be inducted.” While ostensibly just high praise from one of last year’s inductees to a future Rock Hall member, the MC’s comments come on the heels of a recent interview with Radio.com in which Kiss bassist Gene Simmons questioned whether hip-hop acts belong in the Rock Hall.
While Chuck D took the high road, he suggested Simmons “took the old-fashioned, limited position that rock and roll is for guitars and some other primitive shit like that.
“I guess his point was that he wants to be judged against the artists he thinks are his peers, like maybe Aerosmith,” continued the rapper. “But yo, dude, one thing that the rocker doesn’t understand is that rock came out of something,” referring to both rock and hip-hop’s roots in African-American culture.
Chuck D went on to crack that Kiss’ music was “like cheap beer” — while still noting there’s always a place for high and low art — but he did laud the band for creating “a total 360-degree experience for their fans,” completely changing both rock performance and the business of rock music.
“Even if you’re not into it, you have to pay attention to the demographics, and by that I don’t just mean numbers,” he said. “What Kiss did was like Parliament-Funkadelic in some ways. Say you came up listening to rock, and you saw Parliament-Funkadelic turn a crowd out. Even if you totally didn’t understand the music, you had to respect what it was doing. And it’s the same with Kiss. You’ve got to look at the impact they had across the board.”
Kiss will be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame on April 10th at Brooklyn’s Barclays Center, alongside Peter Gabriel, Nirvana, Hall and Oates, Cat Stevens Linda Ronstadt and the E Street Band. The band, however, will not perform at the ceremony, following lineup disputes regarding which members of Kiss, both past and present, would and wouldn’t take the stage, or be included in the Hall.