Public Enemy, N.W.A., Rush Nominated for Rock and Roll Hall of Fame (GALLERY)

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There are only three hip-hop acts in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, though this year’s class of nominees could raise that number to five.

Pioneering rap acts N.W.A. and Public Enemy, who both made the eligibility requirement for the first time this year (that is, they released their first records 25 years ago), also both made the ballot for the first time and are among the 15 nominees for induction announced earlier this week.

Also up for the first time are two classic-rock bands that have been eligible for 14 years but have been repeatedly snubbed by the nominators: Rush and Deep Purple. A fifth first-time nominee is the Marvelettes, the early 1960s Motown girl group best known for the hit “Please Mr. Postman.”

Which musicians are repeat nominees this year?

Acts nominated previously who made the list again this year include influential disco artists Chic and Donna Summer, singer/songwriter Randy Newman, pioneering proto-techno band Kraftwerk, blues/rock acts Albert King and the Paul Butterfield Blues Band, New Orleans band the Meters, and classic-rock bands Heart, Procol Harum, and Joan Jett and the Blackhearts.

Despite the Hall’s dearth of hip-hop, the choices of N.W.A. and Public Enemy are not a surprise. N.W.A. proved enormously influential; they practically invented gangsta rap and spawned such durable stars as Dr. Dre and Ice Cube. Public Enemy were pioneers of explicitly political rap, though comical Flavor Flav is better known these days as a celebreality dating show mainstay.

More surprising were the nods for Rush and Deep Purple, both bands that have been left off the list every year of their eligibility, since 1998. Canadian power trio Rush, which has had the same lineup since 1974, has long been a cornerstone of progressive rock, a subgenre whose arty pretensions and lengthy jams have never gotten much respect from the Hall. (Genesis, inducted in 2010, is pretty much the only prog-rock band in the Hall.) That antipathy also explains the lack of love to date for Deep Purple, the prog-leaning British metal band, though its monster riff for “Smoke on the Water,” a cornerstone of every budding rock guitarist’s education, should be enough all by itself to earn the band a spot in the Hall.

Of course, plenty of eligible acts were snubbed this year, most not for the first time — Black Flag, Bon Jovi, Peter Frampton, Kiss, Los Lobos, the Moody Blues, T. Rex, Stevie Ray Vaughan

For the first time, fans will be able to lend their support by voting for their top five picks via a ballot on the Hall’s website, where they can vote until December 3. The induction ceremony will be held on April 18, 2013 at the Nokia Theater in Los Angeles.

Which of these acts would you pick for induction into the Hall of Fame? And which eligible musicians who weren’t nominated deserve to be enshrined? Learn more about the nominees in our gallery, then sound off in the comments below.

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