Public Enemy frontman Chuck D will induct the legendary Beastie Boys into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame at the Hall’s April induction ceremony, MTV reports.
The pairing proves that sometimes things really do come full circle, as Chuck and Public Enemy were introduced to the world while opening for the Beasties during their 1987 License to Ill tour. Now, 25 years later, Chuck will open for the Manhattan-bred trio once again as they become the third Hip-Hop act to ever be inducted. Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five were the first, followed by the Beasties’ fellow RUSH Management and Def Jam alums Run-DMC.
The Beastie Boys were originally a punk rock band but began incorporating rap into their music around 1983 with their song “Cooky Puss.” Soon after, the group brought Rick Rubin, then a student at New York University, on as their DJ and subsequently signed to Def Jam, the label Rubin founded with a kid named Russell Simmons. After having their image re-tooled by Simmons, the Beasties were repackaged as exactly what they were: A bunch of punk rock kids with a penchant for loud, in-your-face Hip-Hop. Their all-rap debut, License To Ill, dropped in 1986 and the rest, as they say, is history.
Despite some initial backlash from rap purists who considered the group representative of the whitewashing of yet another historically Black musical genre — journalist (who, ironically, would later become a Public Enemy affiliate) Harry Allen once infamously wrote in a 1987 letter to SPIN magazine that the group was “not only white, but white-faced” and that the magazine showed “racism” by putting them on the cover — the group has since become known and lauded for their authenticity and carefree, anti-establishment stance.
The 2012 Rock & Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremony airs May 5th on HBO.