Earlier this year, KISS' Gene Simmons sparked plenty of discussion when he expressed his interest in seeing the end of rap and later doubling down by questioning whether or not rap act N.W.A. belonged in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Verbal sparring then followed between Simmons and members of N.W.A., each making their points in interviews and social media. Late in April, Rage Against the Machine guitarist Tom Morello entered the discussion with a tweet proclaiming N.W.A.'s induction to be the "most rock and roll segment" of the ceremony. Now Morello is elaborating on his thoughts.

The guitarist has a unique perspective, as he's an avid KISS fan who inducted the band into the Rock Hall, but also rose to fame in a band that melded rock with hip hop influences. Speaking with Rolling Stone about the Simmons / N.W.A. debate over rap's place in rock history, Morello confirmed that Simmons had reached out to him for his thoughts on the matter.

"I personally like the idea of rock and roll being a big tent," explained Morello. "I think genre is basically meaningless and that people should just follow their music. In the beginning of Rage Against the Machine there were hostile camps of hip hop and rock and punk, and never the 'twain shall meet." But these days, Morello feels that streaming services have opened the door for music listeners to broaden their horizons.

When asked his thoughts on N.W.A.'s induction, he stated, “While N.W.A may not be in line with the letter of rock and roll, they are certainly in line with the spirit of rock and roll. Much more so than many acts in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame who play guitars through Marshall amps. I think N.W.A. is rock & roll as f--k and deserves to be there.”

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