Rock and Roll Hall of Fame welcomes N.W.A.N.W.A. entered the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Friday, with the groundbreaking quintet that reflected the rough streets of Los Angeles in a style known as gangster rap defiantly refuting those who suggested rappers didn’t belong in the institution.
They joined the rock hall in a ceremony at Brooklyn’s Barclays Center with 1970s-era rock acts Cheap Trick, Chicago, Deep Purple and Steve Miller.
N.W.A.’s rough-hewn tales tilted the balance toward West Coast rap in the late 1980s on songs like “F--- the Police,” “Boyz-N-The Hood” and “Straight Outta Compton.” Following the act’s breakup, Dr. Dre became one of music’s most in-demand producers and a billionaire with a high-tech headphone company. Ice Cube moves between music and a successful acting career.
For all the success, some traditional rockers have resisted the inclusion of rap acts into the hall, most prominent Kiss’ Gene Simmons, whose band was inducted in 2014.
“I want to say to Gene Simmons, hip-hop is here forever,” said MC Ren. “Get used to it.”
Rock ’n’ roll is not just a musical style but a spirit that connects people, be they bluesmen or punk rockers, Ice Cube said. “Rock ’n’ roll is not conforming to the people who came before you but creating your own path in music and in life,” he said. “That is rock ’n’ roll and that is us.”
Named for one of N.W.A.’s best-known songs, the movie “Straight Outta Compton” told the band’s story and was one of the biggest box office winners of 2015. They were inducted by Kendrick Lamar, who said N.W.A. members “proved to every kid in the ghetto that you could be successful and still have your voice while doing it.”