The 1980s rap act, along with Metallica and the Stooges, are among the nine nominees for next year's hall of fame class, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Foundation announced Monday.
The other nominees are guitarist Jeff Beck, singer Wanda Jackson, , War, Bobby Womack, and disco and R&B group Chic.
The list is notable for the wide range of musical genres represented — hip-hop, metal, punk, disco and R&B — and the large number of first-time candidates. Only Chic, the Stooges and Jackson have been previously nominated.
"It's an interesting group because it really shows the nominating committee showed some thought and energy into who should be inducted," said Joel Peresman, president and CEO of the New York City-based Rock Hall foundation. "It truly shows it's never a closed door for any artist to be nominated."
The five leading vote-getters will be announced in January and inducted April 4, 2009, in Cleveland.
The ceremony typically has been held in New York but is returning to Cleveland after more than a decade-long absence. Tickets will be made available to the public for the first time.
Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five opened the door for rap at the Rock Hall as the first hip-hop act to be inducted in 2007. Now, Run-D.M.C., nominated in the first year of its eligibility, has the chance to follow on the strength of rock and rap blends such as the 1986 cover of Aerosmith's "Walk This Way" and classics like "It's Tricky" and "My Adidas."
"The big thing they did is took hip-hop more into the mainstream," said Jim Henke, chief curator of the hall of fame and a member of the nominating committee. "They did combine a lot of rock elements. As far as hip-hop groups go, they're certainly right there at the top."
Metallica jumped on the heavy metal wave of the '80s and 25 years later is still selling out arenas. This month the group released "Death Magnetic," which marks a return to its early speed metal days.
The Stooges, recently given props in the film "Juno," get another shot after last appearing on the ballot two years ago.
Left off the ballot were Stevie Ray Vaughan and Bon Jovi. Both had been eligible for the first time. To be nominated an act must have released its first single or album 25 years prior.
"They're great artists," Peresman said. "People's time comes for whatever reason when it does."
Rock fan Neil Walls, who started the Web site futurerockhall.com two and one-half years ago to discuss which of today's artists could end up in the hall of fame, said this year's nominees offer great diversity. But he questions why artists like Kiss, , , Chicago and Rush keep getting snubbed.
"They need to go back to at least nominating 14 or 15 to at least give the voters more of an option," Walls said. "It really puts the power in the nominating committee's hands."
More than 500 musicians, industry professionals and journalists vote on the inductions.