Billboard magazine recruited Kendrick Lamar to initiate an interview with the four surviving members of N.W.A. – Dr. Dre, Ice Cube, DJ Yella and MC Ren – for their first magazine cover together in over 2 decades. N.W.A. have been popping up in the news a lot lately; Straight Outta Compton, the F. Gary Grey biopic about the notorious hip-hop group that ushered in a new era and persona for the genre, officially hits theaters tomorrow. Last weekend, Dr. Dre also released his third and final album, Compton: A Soundtrack by Dr. Dre, which he says was heavily inspired by the biopic itself.
“N.W.A did a lot more than entertain. They told the truth,” Kendrick Lamar said. Dre explained, “If N.W.A had done it softer, it wouldn’t have gotten the attention. It wouldn’t have worked.” Ice Cube noted during the interview that he feels police brutality is still exactly the same today as it was durng the late ’80s and early ’90s. “They talk about bullying in society, but police are the worst bullies that we have to deal with,” Cube said.
The group went on to say that they were not very concerned about being accepted by general audiences. The guys were really only concerned with telling their story and representing their city, regardless of what any outsider had to say about it. They also admitted that the business aspect of being an artist in music was the most difficult component for them to wrestle with. “We were just a bunch of creative guys who got together and did something amazing but were clueless about business,” Dre went on to say. “But the business part sucks,” Cube added. “It’s always some s*** you ready to get rid of so you can go back to being creative.”
Kendrick Lamar asked the 4 N.W.A. members how they balance their families and their professional careers, and that balance was never difficult for them to maintain. The fifth member, Eazy E, died of AIDS in 1995, but the guys give the man nothing but praise when his name is mentioned. “In the early interviews, Eazy was calling us an all-star group, and this before anyone even knew us,” MC Ren said. “But he knew before we knew.”
The bond between the 4 members has not been broken, and they’re very proud of that fact. Straight Outta Compton hits theaters tomorrow, August 14.