Bring the Noise (Back)

Tommy Boy's founder reclaims history from hip-hop's dustbin

If so, he thinks it's a shame. "I don't think it's a stretch to say that hip-hop is the most important musical genre birthed in America. More important than blues, more important than jazz. It's only been going for a quarter-century, and it's already bigger than jazz ever was at its peak. Rock 'n' roll was really British and American . . . but I don't even know if you could say it's more important than hip-hop," he contends.

It's an argument Silverman, who serves on the board of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, has been trying to make for some time. And he now believes that snubs like Grandmaster Flash's failure to make it into the Hall may point to the need for a separate hip-hop hall of fame instead. "Maybe hip-hop is as big as rock 'n' roll, and it shouldn't be absorbed as a subset," Silverman says. "It's too important. It demeans it.

"So maybe Cleveland will put up the Hip-Hop Hall of Fame," he adds with a chuckle. "There's another spot on the lake."

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