Ice Cube will revisit his gangsta past later this month, when he performs numerous N.W.A songs with MC Ren and DJ Yella at a Los Angeles concert. “It’s just gonna be a great night,” Ice Cube tells Rolling Stone of his BET Experience gig at the Staples Center on June 27th. “We’re gonna be there with Snoop, Kendrick Lamar, Schoolboy Q. It’s just gonna be one of those ‘I wish I were there in L.A. nights.’ And we’re gonna rock that shit, no problem.”
The reunion comes before the release of Straight Outta Compton, the N.W.A biopic he co-produced with Dr. Dre and Eazy-E’s widow Tomica Woods-Wright. The movie, which comes out August 14th, covers the 10-year span between the group’s fornation in the mid-Eighties through Eazy-E’s death in 1995.
“I’m gonna bring out some of the old favorites,” Cube says of the concert, declining to name which specific songs he’ll perform. “We’re gonna bring back some memories up in there for sure.”
The festival, whose official name is the “BET Experience at L.A. Live, Presented by Coca-Cola,” will take place between June 25th and the 28th. Nicki Minaj, Kevin Hart, Bell Biv Devoe, the Roots and others are all slated to perform, with tickets now available. “Not only am I a fan of BET and I’m really grateful that BET is still around and doing events of this magnitude, but for it to be in my hometown, L.A., and for me to perform at the Staples Center, it’s a real cool notch on my belt,” Ice Cube says. “It’s great in so many ways.” The rapper spoke to Rolling Stone about what to expect on the historic night.
When is the last time you got onstage with MC Ren and DJ Yella?
The last time I performed with Yella was 1989. That was a long time, but with Ren, it was the Up in Smoke Tour [in 2000]. It was real cool to be onstage with him again, but that’s still been 15 years ago. So it’s real cool to get up there and with the excitement around Straight Outta Compton, the movie. I think people are going to just be extra excited to get a glimpse of us.
Why wasn’t Yella a part of the Up in Smoke Tour?
That was a tour that was pretty much spearheaded by Dre, so I don’t know. But that tour was fun, and it was big.
So you’ll be doing songs from Straight Outta Compton at the BET Experience. Which ones?
I can’t give up everything [laughs]. You gotta make it to the Staples Center. I want to keep that a secret and just bring back memories, keep it rockin’. You know, old-school hip-hop at its finest.
On your recent tours, you’ve done “Straight Outta Compton” and “Gangsta Gangsta.” How does it feel to revisit those?
I love ’em. It also reminds me of how far I’ve come in entertainment and hip-hop. I always like to give people a taste of my history. I’ve got so many records I could do, so I just want to make sure I spread it out and people get a taste of songs they like. It’s not a bad problem to have.