The group has been eligible since 2017, and now, with the next induction ceremony taking place on Friday, RZA believes it’s time for the institution to step up. “I think we should [get in], and I do care,” RZA told Rolling Stone. “It may take some time to get in there. I think it’s good for us and I think it’s good for rock and roll, because hip-hop is a form of music that grabs from every genre, but definitely grabs from rock and roll.”
The rapper-producer believes rock and rap are on equal footing, in terms of youth culture. “Rock and roll has a certain spirit; it was the spirit of the '60s and '70s youth,” he said. “Hip-hop is the '80s, '90s, up to now, the youth. It’s called hip-hop, but it’s in the same spirit of rock and roll at the end of the day. Lyrical, stories, music, unorthodox, dissonant sometimes, energetic, all the things that rock is and was, hip-hop embodies.”
RZA specifically mention “Bring da Ruckus” from the group’s 1993 debut album Enter the Wu-Tang (36 Chambers) as a moment where Wu-Tang blurred the line between rock and rap.
“Listening to a song like ‘Bring da Ruckus,’ I thought I was making hip-hop, but shit, it has a motherfuckin’ rock and roll groove like a motherfucker. I don’t know how the fuck I did that. I go back and listen to some of the Beatles progressions and some of [Led] Zeppelin’s progressions and movements, like, okay, I was on some shit, though.”
The group has been looking back on its accomplishments as they prepare for the release of the four-part Showtime docuseries Of Mics and Men, and wrap-up the scripted Hulu series Wu-Tang: An American Saga, co-created by RZA.
The Rock & Roll Hall of Fame only began inducting hip-hop acts in 2007, with Grandmaster Flash & the Furious Five as the first. Since then, Run-DMC, Beastie Boys, Public Enemy, and N.W.A have been given the honor, with 2Pac as the most recent rap inductee in 2017.
This year’s Rock & Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremony is set to take place Friday at Brooklyn’s Barclays Center, and will inaugurate Def Leppard, Radiohead, Janet Jackson, the Zombies, the Cure, Stevie Nicks, and Roxy Music.