N.W.A had been on the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame’s ballot three times before, but 2015 was no ordinary year for the Compton rap collective. In August, their biopic, Straight Outta Compton, hit movie theaters to rapturous reviews, earning over $200 million and lots of Oscar buzz. It reminded the world just how impactful N.W.A was during their brief time together, and probably helped them finally get into the Hall of Fame. We spoke with Ice Cube about the induction, his vision for the ceremony and even the possibility of an unlikely all-star jam with fellow inductees Deep Purple, Chicago, Cheap Trick and Steve Miller.
Yeah, man. I’m extremely excited about it.
Who told you the news?
Your first reaction?
I kept asking, “Are we in-in, or are we nominated? I know we’re nominated, but are we actually in the Hall?” She had to let me know a few times that we’re actually in.
What does this mean to you personally?
It’s hard to sum up exactly what it means. It means a lot of things. It means that the group’s mark is kind of solidified. It’s all legitimized in a way because the whole music industry has to honor the group in a way. It’s just hard to sum up in words, really.
It’s the culmination of a pretty insane year for you guys.
Yeah. It’s everything that kind of eluded us in a lot of ways when we were coming up. So many people were opinionated about N.W.A. I think everyone now at this point, no matter how you feel about us, understands what the group actually did and what it means to modern music. I think the movie helped to get people to remember that.
I think the movie also gave a context to the music. People that maybe weren’t paying attention to what was happening in Los Angeles back then can see it and understand what led to your music.
That’s the thing that we were trying to show the audiences. Everyone knows the where and when, but a lot of people didn’t know the why. The movie was able to connect some of those dots for people. Why were five youngsters out of Compton, California, rapping about this kind of stuff? It was basically trying to make sense of the world around us, in a lot of ways.
The more time that passes, the more it becomes apparent how impactful you guys were.
I believe so. It’s funny. History could blur the lines and dull people’s memories, but since me and Dre are really still smack dab in the middle of pop culture on a lot of different levels, it hasn’t. I think that helps to keep the memory alive of what really went down back then. This movie and us being inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame is really a way to remember and set it in stone. It’s great.