The SHOF announced this year’s inductees via a statement on its website. The Kool & The Gang honorees include bassist Robert “Kool” Bell, saxophonist Ronald Bell, drummer George Brown and singer James “JT” Taylor. They, along with Dupri, are the only artists of color featured in a 2018 group otherwise dominated by White rock and country music songwriters.
Dupri is only the second hip hop artist to receive the SHOF honor, after Jay-Z was inducted last year. According to a biography from Allmusic, Dupri first broke out in 1992, writing songs for Kris Kross, TLC and Immature. He went on to produce and co-write songs for many chart-topping artists, including Janet Jackson, Usher and Mariah Carey. Durpi also found success by signing rappers and singing groups like Da Brat, Xscape, Jagged Edge and Lil Bow Wow to his independent record label, So So Def Recordings. He also released several solo albums. One of them, “Life in 1472,” went platinum.
As for Kool & the Gang, Allmusic traces the group’s beginning to a 1960s jazz ensemble that the Bell brothers created with friends in their hometown of Jersey City, New Jersey. The group eventually wrote what would become known as funk music, and achieved pop and R&B chart success throughout the 1970s and 1980s with tracks like “Jungle Boogie,” “Celebration” and “Get Down On It.”
Inductees will receive their honors at the SHOF ceremony on June 14 in New York City.