Billboard magazine has completed the cover trifecta started by The Hollywood Reporter and Rolling Stone by giving the legendary N.W.A the cover spot. To flip it on the creative side, they have called upon Kendrick Lamar to handle the interview duties.
The undeniably gifted MC (who also hails from Compton) has already tried his hand at interviewing legends (see: To Pimp a Butterfly‘s “Mortal Man”) and he doused the group’s surviving members in Dr. Dre, Ice Cube, MC Ren and DJ Yella with some intriguing questions that they answered so candidly.
Here is an excerpt:
How did N.W.A change the history of music?
Ice Cube: We not only changed music, we changed pop culture all over the world. We did that by making it all right for artists to be themselves. You no longer had to be squeaky clean. We opened the floodgates for artists who wanted to work on this side, artists who wanted to be raw.
Dr. Dre: And not worry about being on the radio.
Ice Cube: Right. There were no other examples of artists not doing it the square way. We became examples for not only musicians, but for shows like South Park, even the reality shows where they’re bleeping out words. We started that on the radio — bleeping out words — but the rawness wasn’t in the world until N.W.A said it was OK for you to be yourself. There’s the world before N.W.A, and the world after.
Dr. Dre: We gave the suburban kids an opportunity to get up close.
Ice Cube: Now you care. You heard what’s going on in the hood, and you’re interested. Now Compton means something to you. Now you pay attention. We were able to shed light on some of the bullsh*t that was going down. We presented it in a way that you could digest, comprehend and sympathize with what we were going through.
Dr. Dre: If we had done it softer, it wouldn’t have gotten the attention. It wouldn’t have worked.
DJ Yella: The truth is that there wasn’t much competition. There was the East and the West, but there was really no West before us. We came in so different, so real, that we were immediately heard.
Watch the full engaging interview courtesy of Billboard below. The N.W.A biopic, Straight Outta Compton, hits theaters tomorrow, August 14.