N.W.A. Defend Their Place In Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame, Say Gene Simmons Got It Wrong

N.W.A. has been inaugurated into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, and the groundbreaking hip-hop legends want everyone to know they think they earned their spot among the greatest musical acts of all time. N.W.A. members MC Ren, Dr. Dre, Ice Cube and DJ Yella accepted the honor on Friday at the Barclays Center in New York, alongside classic rock acts Deep Purple, Cheap Trick, and Steve Miller.

According to Billboard, N.W.A.’s MC Ren called out Kiss founding member Gene Simmons during his Rock & Roll Hall of Fame speech. Simmons has been vocal about his disdain for rap music and recently predicted that “rap will die”and that he was looking forward to it. But MC Ren had a personal message for the Kiss rocker.

“I want to say to Mr. Gene Simmons that hip-hop is here forever. We’re supposed to be here.”

N.W.A. founder Ice Cube had even more to say about it. Ice said that rock ‘n’ roll is more of a feeling than a music style.

“The question is, ‘Are we rock ‘n’ roll?’ And I say — you goddamn right we rock ‘n’ roll. Rock ‘n’ roll is not an instrument. It’s not even a style of music. It’s a spirit that’s been going on since the blues, jazz, bebop, soul, rock ‘n’ roll, R&B, heavy metal, punk rock, and yes, hip-hop.”

Ice Cube credited N.W.A. for forging their own way back in the day. The group defined the gangsta rap genre in the late 1980s, and amazingly released just two studio albums, in 1988 and 1991, before fellow N.W.A. founding member Eazy-E died in 1995.

“Rock ‘n’ roll is not conforming to the people who came before you, but creating your own path in music and life. That is rock ‘n’ roll and that is us.”

N.W.A. is only the fifth hip-hop act ever voted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, and the first from Compton, California. Previous rap acts inaugurated into the Hall of Fame were the New York-based Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five, Run-DMC, the Beastie Boys and Public Enemy.

Last year, N.W.A.’ s legacy was detailed in the big screen biopic Straight Outta Compton. In an interview with the New York Times, Ice Cube said he thinks the hit film finally helped get N.W.A. into the Rock Hall after three previous nominations.

“I think it was the thing that put us over the top,” he said. “The movie was able to remind them of the impact of the group on pop culture and that the music is just as much rock ‘n’ roll as anything. Rock ‘n’ roll is a form of sped-up blues to me.”

Ahead of the ceremony, the N.W.A. legend said Simmons’ view on the Hall of Fame was all wrong, going so far as to claim that N.W.A. is more rock ‘n’ roll than a lot of so-called rock acts.

“I respect Gene Simmons, but I think he’s wrong on this, because rock ‘n’ roll is not an instrument and it’s not singing. Rock ‘n’ roll is a spirit. N.W.A is probably more rock ‘n’ roll than a lot of the people that he thinks belong there over hip-hop. We had the same spirit as punk rock, the same as the blues.”

The surviving members of N.W.A. were honored and humbled as they accepted their place in music history, but ahead of the ceremony, Ice Cube said Eazy-E would not have been surprised by the honor. When asked what the late rapper would have said if he’d been told in the ’80s that someday N.W.A. would be in the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, Ice Cube told the Times Eazy-E would have said, “You’re f***ing right!”

Check out the video below to see Ice Cube talking about N.W.A.’s induction into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame.


[Photo By Theo Wargo/Getty Images]

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