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Ice Cube Talks N.W.A. Biopic, Eazy-E & Who Invented ‘Gangster Rap’

On August 14, the group’s story will finally get the big screen treatment as it invades movie theaters to educate those unfamiliar with its legacy with “Straight Outta Compton.” In an interview with Rolling Stone, Ice Cube reflects on the upcoming biopic as well as the label put on N.W.A’s music and what he remembers most about his former group mate, the late Eazy-E.

“I wanted to show why we made N.W.A, what made us, what was happening in our lives at the time that made us make music like that,” said Ice Cube, one of the producers of the F. Gary Gray-helmed film. “And then I wanted to show what influence N.W.A had on the neighborhood. It forged us, and then we changed the ‘hood.”

In addition to N.W.A.’s formation and influence, Ice Cube mentioned that the film, which was coproduced by Dr. Dre and Eazy-E’s widow Tomica Woods-Wright, accurately shows what N.W.A was like in the studio as it highlights the competition among the members.

“You’ll tease a motherf*cker if he ain’t getting it right,” he laughingly told Rolling Stone. “You can get real personal. All that comes out in the movie, and it’s great that we were able to produce a movie at that level.”

While N.W.A. went on to become one of the most successful groups in rap, it took a bit for the quintet to get serious about what they were creating. Fortunately, the stars fell in line with the recording and release of Easy-E’s solo hit “Boyz-N-the-Hood,” which was written by Ice Cube.
“We were trying to make records that can go on the radio, and when we started doing mixtapes — which we knew wasn’t going on the radio — that’s when we really started to talk about the neighborhood,” Cube said while detailing how the term “gangster rap” came into being. “Talking about what really led into the style that we ended up doing, which is now called hardcore gangster rap. Back then we was calling it ‘reality rap’; ‘gangster rap’ is the name that the media coined.

“We was just talking about sh*t that we was going through,” he continued. “Me and Dre started off making the first mixtapes: He would do the mixes, and I would rap at the beginning of them. We’d talk about sh*t you couldn’t talk about on a record, that we didn’t think you could until Eazy-E came into the picture and said, ‘No these are the kind of records I want to make, not just mixtapes, not just for the ‘hood. Let’s do these kinds of records for everybody.’”

Remembering Eazy-E, Ice Cube stated that he will miss the rapper’s “sense of humor” most, among other things as well as “his sense of marketing and just how he knew what people wanted all the time. He was just a smart cat.”

With film centering on such a revered group, the obvious question is whether or not new music from N.W.A. will show up on the movie’s soundtrack? According to Ice Cube, it all boils down to one member in particular.

“It’s always a hope and a dream and a wish to get new music out of Dr. Dre, so it’s all how he’s feeling,” he shared with Rolling Stone. “If Dre feels like it, he’s going to do it. If not, then it’s cool.”


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