It’s a special moment when an artist comes face-to-face with his icons. This was the case when Kendrick Lamar had the chance to sit down and interview N.W.A for Billboard’s new cover story.
Billboard Cover: Kendrick Lamar Interviews N.W.A About Coming ‘Straight Outta Compton’ and Changing the World
“Anything that I do, at all, has come from what y’all done,” Kendrick Lamar, also a native of Compton, Calif., told the group before asking them their thoughts on Lamar’s generation of rappers. Besides Lamar himself (whom Dr. Dre designated “the new king of the West Coast” in 2011), the living members of N.W.A — comprised of Dre, Ice Cube, MC Ren and DJ Yella — also respect Pusha T and Drake.
N.W.A also discussed the impact that their late friend and group member Eazy-E (who died of AIDS in 1995) had on each one of them, and the group as a whole. “He knew before we knew what was going to pop,” explains Ren. And though Dre admits that though he and Eazy “argued night and day,” it was “always out of mutual respect. Always out of a desire to get the best. And always settled with a cool compromise.”
Kendrick Lamar and N.W.A: The Billboard Cover Shoot
Dre adds: “We knew we were both trying to be something that was great.”
The bond between N.W.A’s remaining original members continues to remain intact almost 30 years since their debut album Straight Outta Compton was released in 1988. “All forces [were] against us and it didn’t break us…” Cube says about tangling with Tipper Gore, the FBI and the police during their heyday. “It made us stronger,” adds Dre.
Watch the exclusive full conversation between Kendrick Lamar and N.W.A’s DJ Yella, Dr. Dre, Ice Cube and MC Ren above. And read Billboard’s full cover story with Kendrick Lamar and N.W.A.