NEW YORK (Reuters) - Slain rapper Tupac Shakur will join the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, organizers said on Tuesday, reflecting the strength of his influence 25 years after his death and the growing acceptance of hip hop as a force in mainstream music.
Folksinger Joan Baez, British progressive rock band Yes, American rockers Pearl Jam and Journey, and English rock band Electric Light Orchestra rounded out the 2017 inductees, but pop star Janet Jackson was again excluded, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame said.
Shakur was killed at age 25 in an unsolved 1996 drive-by shooting in Las Vegas that has only boosted his fame. The Harlem-born rapper, who sang about social inequity and black struggles, is regarded as one of the most influential voices in hip hop music, spurring the release of documentaries, movies and a Broadway musical.
Shakur was chosen as a Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee on his first nomination. California rappers N.W.A. were inducted in 2016 as only the fifth hip hop act to be voted in.
Artists must have released their first recordings at least 25 years ago to be eligible for nomination. The inductees were voted on by music fans and 900 music industry experts.
The class of 2017 will be inducted at a ceremony and performance show in New York on April 7.
Baez, 75, became a voice of protest in the tumultuous 1960s, becoming one of the first singers to promote the songs of Bob Dylan and singing at the 1969 Woodstock festival. Her performances of the traditional song “We Shall Overcome” in the early 1960s became an anthem of the civil rights movement.
Jackson, 50, the youngest child of the famed Jackson singing family, is one of the best-known pop singers in the world but is still waiting induction after becoming eligible for the Hall of Fame in 2007. It was her second nomination for the honor.
Yes and Electric Light Orchestra enjoyed their biggest fame in the 1970s and 1980s with concept albums and elaborate stage sets, while American grunge band Pearl Jam was influential in the 1990s music scene.
San Francisco-based rockers Journey have proved one of the more commercial rock/pop bands with multi-generational hit songs like “Don’t Stop Believin’” and “Faithfully.”
Reporting by Jill Serjeant; Editing by Peter Cooney