After N.W.A‘s MC Ren name-checked Gene Simmons in his Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction speech last Friday, the Kiss singer has engaged in a war of words with another member of the gangsta-rap pioneers: Ice Cube.
“I want to say, to Mr. Gene Simmons, hip-hop is here forever,” Ren said. “Get used to it.” His comments came just weeks after the Kiss singer-songwriter told Rolling Stone he was “looking forward to the death of rap.”
As news of Ren’s comment – along with Ice Cube’s all-inclusive definition of rock & roll – began to circulate, Simmons targeted the latter rapper on Twitter on Saturday. “Respectfully, let me know when Jimi Hendrix gets into the Hip-Hop Hall of Fame,” he wrote in a post that tagged Ice Cube. “Then you’ll have a point.”
Cube replied Monday, directing a tweet toward Simmons. “Who stole the soul?” he wrote. “Chuck Berry, Little Richard and Chubby Checker help invent rock & roll. We invent it. Y’all reprint it.”
He also posted a photo of an excerpt from his induction speech that highlighted his definition of rock & roll, writing “I repeat. And say this with a Kiss.”
Simmons then replied again and stood his ground. “Cube, I stand by my words,” he wrote. “[I] respect N.W.A, but when Led Zep gets into Rap Hall of Fame, I will agree with your point.”
Simmons has previously said that he did not feel that the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame should induct rap artists. “A few people decide what’s in and what’s not,” he told Radio.com in 2014. “And the masses just scratch their heads. You’ve got Grandmaster Flash in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame? Run-D.M.C. in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame? You’re killing me. That doesn’t mean those aren’t good artists. But they don’t play guitar. They sample and they talk. Not even sing.”
On Friday, N.W.A became the fifth hip-hop artists in history to join the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, following the inductions of Run-DMC, Beastie Boys, Public Enemy and Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five.
Last Thursday, The New York Times published an interview with Ice Cube in which he addressed Simmons’ previous statements about rap artists in the Rock Hall. “I respect Gene Simmons, but I think he’s wrong on this, because rock & roll is not an instrument and it’s not singing,” he said. “Rock & roll is a spirit. N.W.A is probably more rock & roll than a lot of the people that he thinks belong there over hip-hop. We had the same spirit as punk rock, the same as the blues.”