Tupac Shakur, Pearl Jam, Joan Baez among 2017 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductees

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Pearl Jam
Pearl Jam (Danny Clinch)

The latest round of Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductees has been announced, and it includes two big names from the '90s. Hip-hop icon Tupac Shakur and grunge stalwarts Pearl Jam will be inducted on April 7, along with '80s arena gods Journey, '70s prog-rockers Yes and Electric Light Orchestra, and folk revival star Joan Baez.

The selection of Pearl Jam and Shakur further cements those artists' status as leading lights of their respective genreas; Shakur becomes only the sixth hip-hop artist to join the hall, while Pearl Jam's induction follows the welcoming of like-minded bands Nirvana and Green Day.

Journey, Yes, and E.L.O. have waited longer — though not as long as Baez, whose induction reflects the growing recognition of her role as one of the most influential artists of the '60s folk movement. A popular and influential artist before most people had ever heard of Bob Dylan, Baez provided a crucial catalyst for Dylan's early career and became closely associated with him. Her induction comes after a year when the Rock Hall faced sharp criticism over the relatively small number of women enthroned in the rock pantheon.

The year's biggest bummer is for fans of Chic, who yet again didn't make the cut — after a record 11 appearances on the ballot. Their repeat rejection — especially in a year when Journey, a commercial juggernaut though hardly critical darlings, were voted in — is sure to renew charges that Rock Hall voters discriminate against dance music and, by extension, hip-hop (where Chic have been widely sampled).

Chic's leader Nile Rodgers won't go home empty-handed, though: by committee, he was selected to receive this year's award for musical excellence.

Journey's induction raises the year's biggest reunion question: will classic-lineup frontman Steve Perry rejoin his former bandmates after over a quarter-century away from the band and largely out of sight? Remarkably, the only place Perry has sung publicly within the last two decades was at St. Paul's Fitzgerald Theater, where he made a surprise appearance with his friends the Eels in 2014 and busted out with a couple of Journey hits.

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