The Compton, Ca. lyricist, who carries the torch of the city’s latest successful rhyme representative, was on hand Friday night (04-08-16) to induct his hometown heroes and longtime mentor Dr. Dre in to the legendary Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
Check out the highlights of Lamar’s touching salute to N.W.A., via USA Today:
What he’s learned from Dr. Dre
“This dude here taught me a lot, as far as never being satisfied with the work you do, on and off the record. … No. 2, make sure you take care of your music and your family each and every single day. I never forget those words. Since the first day meeting me, you always gave me the energy, saying ‘Superstar!’ You never called me Kendrick Lamar. That gave me the belief in what I was doing and also gave me the energy of knowing I was doing it right. I appreciate you for that.”
Why Ice Cube is a “storytelling genius”
“Every bar had us hanging over our seats. Every punchline, delivery (and) detailed imagery made you get just a small glimpse of how it was growing up in the city of Compton. Cube was always proving to be one of the greatest MCs to ever step behind the mic, and on a personal level, my debut album (Good Kid, M.A.A.D City), you was the blueprint on how I went to approach it.”
How the late Eazy-E inspired him
“He was a true mastermind. A businessman, an incredible entertainer. His persona was unmatched. His confidence spoke with abundance. His high-pitched tone spoke to nations around the world. There was no better voice to put across than Eazy-E. He is the gatekeeper of reality rap. He’s the reason why I’m proud to stand on this stage and rep Compton.”
Why N.W.A is so influential
“(Public Enemy’s) Chuck D once said rap and hip hop was the black CNN. N.W.A represent that to the fullest. Bringing inner city life to the forefront and making the world pay attention to our realities. … The fact that a famous group can look just like one of us, dress like one of us and talk like one of us proved to every single kid in the ghetto that you can be successful and still have importance while doing it. That was N.W.A. That was their true message.
“I know each and every one of them said they never wanted to be role models, but look: The first time I see Eazy bust through that screen out the jail cell on stage on We Want Eazy, I felt like every single one of them was black superheroes where I come from.”
What it means to be “gangster”
“As you know the history, a lot of people said (N.W.A’s music) was too gangster. It was too much for them. But for me, it was honest. So I’m going to put it like this: Being gangster symbolizes a hustle that you can change your reality. The true meaning of gangster (is) being able to show what it takes to be the world’s biggest music group. Being gangster is forming iconic labels: Ruthless Records, Death Row, Aftermath Records. Being gangster is branching out to become a movie star, a movie producer, and having your own son play you as a retrospect to your career (in) Straight Outta Compton.
“Being gangster changed the way people listened to music by being so obsessed with sound that you create your own headphones and force people and fans around the world to listen to deep, intricate sounds the way you wanna hear. Being gangster is partnering with the biggest tech companies and launching groundbreaking music on a whole other platform. So now, after 30 years of being heard, being gangster is being inducted into Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.”