Gangsta Rap Pioneers N.W.A. To Reunite For Show
Members of N.W.A., the pioneering gangsta rappers whose furious tales of street life jolted late-1980s America, will reunite this month for the first time in 15 years.
Black Entertainment Television announced the one-off show on June 27 in Los Angeles and said that other top West Coast rappers including Snoop Dogg, Kendrick Lamar and ScHoolboy Q would also perform.
The concert is spearheaded by N.W.A. member turned solo hip-hop giant Ice Cube and comes ahead of the release of a semi-official documentary on the band — entitled “Straight Outta Compton,” after the group’s now-classic debut album — comes out in August.
Ice Cube, speaking to Rolling Stone magazine, said he would perform with N.W.A. member DJ Yella for the first time since 1989 and fellow bandmate MC Ren for the first time since 2000.
The big question is whether the concert will feature N.W.A. member Dr. Dre, who went on to become one of the music industry’s leading entrepreneurs with ventures including Death Row Records and Beats by Dre headphones, later bought by Apple as part of a $3 billion deal.
Ice Cube hinted that Dr. Dre may show up at the reunion, saying, “I hope he blesses us with his presence.”
Ice Cube and Dr. Dre last performed together during the 2000 “Up in Smoke Tour” of leading rappers.
The other of the three N.W.A. members who became a major star in his own right, Eazy-E, died in 1995 of complications from AIDS.
N.W.A. — which stands for Niggaz Wit Attitudes — shocked parts of white America when the rappers emerged in the late 1980s with unapologetic, in-your-face accounts of life on the streets of southern Los Angeles.
Most controversial was the song “Fuck tha Police,” an angry indictment of white officers’ treatment of African American men.
Amid renewed public outrage over several police killings of African Americans, Ice Cube said the song was as pertinent as ever and was rooted in centuries of mistreatment by authorities.
“When ‘Fuck tha Police’ was made in 1989, it was 400 years in the making. And it’s still just as relevant as it was before it was made,” he said.
The show will be the highlight of the four-day BET Experience event of music and cinema run by Black Entertainment Television, whose annual awards take place the following day.
Photo credit: Getty/AFP/File / Jason Merritt,Getty/AFP/File / Bryan Bedder