N.W.A. was officially induced into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame at Brooklyn’s Barclays Center on Friday (April 8), with Kendrick Lamar presenting them with the honor.
All living members of the group — Dr. Dre, Ice Cube, DJ Yella, and MC Ren, as well as Eazy-E’s mother — appeared for the induction ceremony… where Cube explained why they belonged, despite objections from people like KISS singer Gene Simmons.
“Are we rock and roll?” he asked. “I say, you goddamn right we rock and roll. Rock and roll is not an instrument. Rock and roll is not even a style of music. Rock and roll is a spirit. It’s a spirit that’s been going since the blues, jazz, bebop, soul, R&B, rock and roll, heavy metal, punk rock, and yes, hip-hop. What connects us all is that spirit. Rock and roll is not conforming to the people who came before you, but creating your own path in music and in life. That is rock and roll and that is us.”
Lamar offered a speech of his own, breaking down how N.W.A. influenced his life and the genre.
On Ice Cube: “Cube, where you at? The storytelling genius, every bar had us hangin’ on our seats. Each verse giving us a glimpse of what it was like to be from Compton.”
On Dr. Dre: “Dre! The scientist, the perfectionist, the producer extraordinary… he’s one of the best producers of all time, through today. Believe that!”
On Eazy-E: “He was a true mastermind, his persona was unmatched, his high pitched tone spoke to nations across the globe. He’s the reason I’m proud to say I’m from Compton.”
Dre later chimed in, thanking the late Eazy-E for founding the “World’s Most Dangerous Group”. “There’s no way we’d be here without him,” he said.