Everyone – and I don’t care who you are – everyone gets starstruck from time to time. It’s a perfectly normal, acceptable, human reaction to absorbing pop culture and idolising the people who create it. Even if you manage to break into the major performing arts industries, you still get starstruck by your (now) contemporaries from time to time.
And it’s a real nice, refreshing thing to see happen. Even when Kendrick Lamar, who Dr Dre labelled “the new King of the West Coat” back in 2011, sits down with the surviving members of N.W.A. – coming together to shoot their first magazine cover since the group dissolved in 1991 – he still gushes like a schoolboy over the group that made his home town of Compton, California famous.
The feeling is definitely mutual too. The reverence the N.W.A. – and particularly Dre – has for Lamar’s burgeoning body of work is plainly obvious.
Lamar sat down with the surviving members of the group – Dr. Dre, Ice Cube, MC Ren, and DJ Yella – for an in-depth interview for Billboard on the eve of the long-awaited release of Straight Outta Compton – the film chronicling the rise of the group at the same time as riots and social unrest gripped greater Los Angeles in the late ’80s.
The interview is very extensive, diving into the group’s beginnings, their impact not only on music but on black culture globally, and their relationship with the late Eazy-E, who passed away in 1995.
Needless to say, it’s a must watch for any casual fans of hip hop, or music history in general.
Straight Outta Compton hits Australian cinemas on September 3rd.
Photo: Gabriel Olsen via Getty Images.