Kendrick Lamar
Billboard

A Humbled Kendrick Lamar Interviewed His Musical Inspiration, N.W.A.

Unless you're buried under a rock somewhere, you should be fully aware that it's currently N.W.A. season. With Straight Outta Compton bombarding theaters this Friday (August 14), the living members of the L.A. supergroup Dr. Dre, Ice Cube, MC Ren and DJ Yella (Eazy-E died in 1995) and the characters that played them—Corey Hawkins, O'Shea Jackson Jr., Aldis Hodge, Neil Brown Jr. and Jason Mitchell, respectively—have been hitting the magazine circuit.

READ: Throwback Jams: Straight Outta N.W.A.

For Billboard's coverage, the mag tapped Kendrick Lamar to play interviewer for the story. Lamar, noticeably humbled and happy to be there, talked to the film's rap royalty about how they functioned as a unit in their prime, how they feel about his generation of artists, being a fan of Pusha T, the studio being addictive and how they remained authentic so many years later. Not before letting them know how honored he was to talk to the people that influenced his career so heavily. "I'm tripping right now," he told them. "Man, I'm bugging."

Take a look at some of the conversation before checking out the full cover story and spread here:

Kendrick Lamar: How do you think your music changed the way the world viewed our culture and our community?
Ice Cube: Unless you come from Compton, it's not a world you're privy to. Our music let you visit Compton from a safe distance.
Dr. Dre: We gave the suburban kids an opportunity to get up close.
Ice Cube: Now you care. You heard what's going on in the hood, and you're interested. Now Compton means something to you. Now you pay attention. We were able to shed light on some of the bullshit that was going down. We presented it in a way that you could digest, comprehend and sympathize with what we were going through.
Dr. Dre: If we had done it softer, it wouldn't have gotten the attention. It wouldn't have worked.
DJ Yella: The truth is that there wasn't much competition. There was the East and the West, but there was really no West before us. We came in so different, so real, that we were immediately heard.

Did you have any doubts that you would be accepted?
MC Ren: I don't think we really cared.
Dr. Dre: We had no idea we'd blow up this major. You see, every time we went into the studio we were only trying to make tracks that would rock our neighborhood. Our goal was to be local stars.
Ice Cube: We didn't think the world cared about gang-banging and dope-dealing in L.A., Compton, South Central, Long Beach and Watts. The hub of hip-hop was the Bronx, Brooklyn and Harlem. We were on the fringes. And that was OK with us.
Dr. Dre: Imagine this: We made Straight Outta Compton in six weeks, and that's without working weekends. Twenty-five years later, and here's a big-ass Hollywood movie carrying the same name. It's unbelievable.

READ: Meanwhile Oprah Saw “Straight Outta Compton” And Thought It Was ‘Powerful’

As one of your offspring, anything I do comes from what y'all have done before me. I'm curious to know how you feel about my generation of artists.
MC Ren: I like a few. I like you.
Dr. Dre: You're No. 1 on my list because of the care and attention you bring to your tracks and the precision you bring to your sound. There are a few people out there I listen to and respect.
MC Ren: Pusha T.
Dr. Dre: Definitely Pusha T.
MC Ren: I'm not saying this because you're here, Kendrick, but I like your song "Cut You Off." I've been listening to you for a minute.

Thank you. Now I'm wondering, is there anything my generation should build on and bring back to the game?
Ice Cube: That's tricky, man. An artist has to do it like he feels it — not because he should, or someone else says he should. Hip-hop got too focused on results and record sales. Sales have nothing to do with the art you create in the studio.
Dr. Dre: When we started out, it wasn't for money. It was for the love of music. You treat her right, and she'll treat you right. If your only aim is money, your time will be limited.
DJ Yella: We just went in there and did what we wanted.

READ: 6 Game-Changing Groups That Are Overdue For A Biopic

From the Web

More on Vibe

Jamie Squire

Prince's Half-Sister Fears Estate Will Go Bankrupt Over Mishandling Of Finances

Prince's half-sister, Sharon Nelson, has accused Comerica Bank & Trust, the administration that is handling Prince's estate, of mishandling the late artist's finances, Billboard reports. Her family's fight against Comerica has now resulted in thousands of court filings and millions of dollars in legal fees. She predicts that if the company is not stopped, Prince's estate will soon go bankrupt.

"Prince’s estate will be bankrupt by the end of the year," Nelson predicted. "Prince is not resting in peace while this is going on. He's very upset what these people have done to his estate. It's really sad."

After Prince's death in 2016, Nelson and her siblings – the singer's full sister Tyka Nelson, his half brothers Omarr Baker, Alfred Jackson, John R. Nelson and his half-sisters Sharon and Norrine Nelson – became sole heirs of the estate that is said to be valued between $100 million and $300 million. The family was forced to hire their own attorneys to defend their interests after 45 people claimed to be heirs of the "Purple Rain" singer's estate.

Due to nearly $3 million in legal fees, Nelson said her siblings are not able to afford a new attorney. Although she is able to get by because she is a "senior citizen and I have worked all my life," she said her other family members are barely scraping by.

The family was each awarded $100,000 following Prince's 2016 tribute concert, but Nelson said they have not received any more money from Comerica although the bank continued to receive $125,000 a month for administering the estate.

Additionally, Nelson told Billboard that Comerica continued to make poor financial moves such as paying $90,000 a month to store Prince's unreleased music in a vault in Los Angeles.

There are reportedly more than 2,700 court filings regarding this matter. The court documents include motion, affidavits, memos, and depositions that support Nelson and her family's complaint about Comerica's representation.

In Oct. 2017, Nelson and two of the others heirs filed to permanently remove Comerica from the estate after an allegedly heated meeting. They accused the bank of being verbally abusive and threatening Nelson.  In Dec. 2017, a judge denied their petition to remove Comerica, ruling that it would not be in the best interest of the estate.

Comerica has denied the allegations against them. Bank officials explained in the court filings that the heirs could not receive a dime until a tax bill from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) was settled. Nelson said she found that reasoning odd since Prince died with $97 million in cash and $30 million to $40 million in real estate holdings.

Comerica released a statement to Billboard regarding Nelson's claims. "The estate of Prince Rogers Nelson is a court-supervised estate, which places strict reporting and judicial oversight requirements on Comerica as the Personal Representative," the statement read. "Comerica has complied with all legal and ethical requirements during its administration of the estate. Comerica’s fees and those of the estate’s attorneys are filed with and approved by the Court every four months with complete transparency to the heirs. The attorneys’ fees paid by the estate have been court-approved as reasonable and necessary for the benefit of the estate."

Prince's siblings are currently asking a judge to permanently limit the Comerica's powers as the estate’s personal representative. A hearing is scheduled for May 20.

Continue Reading
Getty Images

DJ Paul Sues Travis Scott For Copyright Infringement

DJ Paul has filed a multi-million dollar copyright infringement lawsuit against Travis Scott for allegedly stealing his music.

According to TMZ, the Three 6 Mafia member accuses Scott of snatching a portion of the hook from his 1997 track “Tear Da Club Up,” for “No Bystanders” off the 27-year-old rapper’s Astroworld album.

Paul claims that the hooks to both songs are “virtually identical and strikingly similar,” reports The Blast. The lawsuit also notes that the songs sound so much alike that Scott changed his lyrics from to “f**k da club up,” “tear the club up” during his Grammys performance in February, without Paul's permission.

The Memphis native is asking for at least $20 million in damages. However, TMZ reported that Scott reached out to Paul sometime Tuesday (April 23) to potentially work out the legal matter.

The “Sicko Mode” rapper has faced multiple lawsuits over the last two years, including being sued for canceling a music festival performance. Last week, Scott lost a nearly $400,000 lawsuit after being sued for pulling out of a party during Super Bowl weekend. In 2017, La Flame was hit with a lawsuit brought on by a fan who was paralyzed after sustaining injuries during one of his concerts.

 

Continue Reading
ANGELA WEISS

Kim Kardashian Working On Getting Max B Out Of Prison Early

Kim Kardashian is making huge strides in the criminal justice department. Now that Kim is studying to become a lawyer, the reality star has her sights set on getting a number of prisoners out of prison. According to French Montana, Kim is looking into Max B's case now.

French stopped by Apple Music's Beats 1 Radio on April 16, where he revealed Kim's plans. After telling her about Max's situation, she apparently showed interest in trying to get him out early. "Me and Kim was talking about getting Max B home from jail," he explained. "Cause she's doing the whole thing with...So, like for her to even reach out and do that I felt like that was powerful."

Max B has been behind bars since June 2009 after being sentenced to 75 years in prison on conspiracy charges pertaining to armed robbery, kidnapping, aggravated assault, and felony murder. In Sept. 2016, he reportedly accepted a plea deal for aggravated manslaughter and is set to be released on November 9, 2025.

Kardashian is currently taking a four-year apprenticeship with a San Francisco law firm with the goal of taking the bar in 2022. She previously helped Alice Marie Johnson – a nonviolent offender sentenced to life in prison – commute her sentence. It is unclear how she intends to help Max B at this time.

Continue Reading

Top Stories