With Straight Outta Compton premiering in theaters nationwide tomorrow,Billboard recruited the one and only Kendrick Lamar to interview the core, living members of N.W.A—Dr. Dre, Ice Cube, MC Ren, and DJ Yella—all together in one room. The result is 25 minutes of spectacular conversation in which Ice Cube says that N.W.A opened the door for South Park and Dr. Dre shouts out Pusha T as one of his favorite rappers.
Throughout the interview, Kendrick is admittedly star-struck by the collective presence of his musical idols, including Dre, the earlier mentor and benefactor who helped launch Kendrick’s hip-hop stardom in 2011. In his questioning, Kendrick pressures the group to explain how N.W.A’s members, individually and collectively, have withstood the unique tribulations of the music industry. MC Ren credits God. Ice Cube credits his stubborn sense of self. Dr. Dre credits his love for music and creation.
“Nothing that I’ve ever felt in my life—other than anything to do with my family—feels better than having a hit record out,” Dre tells Kendrick. “Every artist will agree with that. Having a hit record out is the ultimate high.”
“The best part,” according to Ren, “is making the music.” “And making the money,” Cube adds. “And hitting that stage. Those three things are why I still make music.”