N.W.A. was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame last night [Friday, April 8] at Brooklyn’s Barclay Center, making the Compton collective only the fifth rap group to ever be given the honors. Fellow Compton native Kendrick Lamar delivered an impassioned speech prior to Ice Cube, MC Ren, DJ Yella and Dr. Dre taking the stage to accept the award.
In the past, Lamar has cited N.W.A. has one of his biggest influences, telling Billboard, “N.W.A did a lot more than entertain, they told the truth.”
Dre also popped up on Lamar’s “The Recipe” and “Compton,” and conversely, Lamar appeared on Dre’s Compton LP. Furthermore, he collaborated with Ice Cube on a remix of Funkadelic‘s “Ain’t That Funkin’ Kinda Hard on You?.” Needless to say, Lamar had the knowledge to speak about what the group meant to him.
Read the full transcript below:
N.W.A, man. I said, N.W.A, man! What it do, boy. The world’s most dangerous group. It’s five members that I can recall having pivotal roles while forming this type of Voltron, y’all.
First off, DJ Yella Ye. Ah? Ah? Hip-hop, we in Compton. His personality, charisma not only poured out into the company that was around him, but it shown whenever he got behind the turntables in production, providing some of the illest breaks, cuts, scratching, that only the most elite – I said elite – Compton MCs can spit over, you dig that? Any time my boy Yella dropped that needle, you know it’s time to get busy, right? Right?
MC Ren, the motherfucking – can I cuss? MC Ren, the motherfucking villain! The name is just not self-proclaimed. It was proven every single time he stepped behind that microphone. Hardcore lyrics that not only made you jump out your seat, but feel like you’re getting your motherfucking head pushed through the speakers, you dig that? A true code red every time we heard a rhyme, you dig that, so it was nothing but honesty, spoken from a true tone of a Compton resident: MC Ren, believe that, boy. 100. Yessir.
Cube! Where y’all at? I said Ice Cube? Storytelling genius. Every bar had us hanging over our seats. Punchline, delivery, detailed imagery made you get just a small glimpse of how it was growing up in the city of Compton, you dig what I’m saying? Cube was always proving to be one of the greatest MCs to ever step behind the mic, and on a personal level, my debut album, you was the blueprint on how I went to approach it. That’s for real, you dig what I’m saying, so salute to that. That’s 100.
Doc Dre! Dr. Dre! The scientist! The perfectionist. The producer extraordinaire. My mentor, you dig what I’m saying? This dude here taught me a lot as far as never being satisfied with the work you do, on and off the record. Whether I’m on the mic, whether I’m out in life, in general, always taught me that. Number two, make sure you take care of your music and your family each and every single day. I never forget the words, you dig what I’m saying? Since the first day meeting me, you always gave me the energy, saying “Superstar!” You never called me Kendrick Lamar. So that gave me the belief in what I was doing, and also gave me the energy of knowing I was doing it right, and then I became. I appreciate you for that, every time.
With that being said, not only on a personal level, when I met Dre, it was way before I actually met him personally, it was on the music, you get what I’m saying? So let me say this. Dre has provided N.W.A with unapologetic production made on high-level soundtracks for hardcore lyrics. You could never press play without having an extra pair of Kenwood speakers. You know what I’m talking about, woofers! You know what I’m saying? Tweeters! You understand when I’m having ’em blown out. Every single hi-hat, snare make you break your neck! I believe Andre to be one of the greatest producers of our time, and still to this day. Believe that. That’s real.
Last but not least, the legendary, the late great Eric “Eazy-E” Wright. He was a true mastermind. A businessman, an incredible entertainer. His persona was unmatched. His confidence spoke with abundance. His high-pitched tone spoke to nations around the world, y’all. There was no better voice to put across than Eazy-E. He is the gatekeeper of reality rap. He’s the reason why I’m proud to stand on this stage and rep Compton. He’s the reason why we’re proud to have songs like “Dope Man,” “Express Yourself.” I said, “Fuck tha Police,” “Express Yourself”! “Boyz-n-the-Hood.” These are the records that made L.A. known all across the world. It was dubbed gangsta rap, but what it was for me was an intimate look at what was actually happening in our community in Los Angeles, and in Compton in particular.