The World’s Most Dangerous Group ran it back for the first time in 15 years on Saturday night. N.W.A members Ice Cube, MC Ren and DJ Yella reunited at the STAPLES Center in Los Angeles as part of BET Experience.
“We’re gonna rock this s–t, no problem,” Ice Cube said earlier this month about the reunion. Saturday marked the first time Cube has performed with N.W.A. members since 2000, when he took the stage with Dr. Dre and MC Ren for an episode of Farmclub.com. Dr. Dre was absent from Saturday’s night’s event — but Ice Cube, MC Ren and DJ Yella were on hand to represent the gangster rap pioneers. (Eazy-E, co-founder of N.W.A., died in 1995; he was honored during Saturday’s reunion.)
Twenty-seven years after the release of Straight Outta Compton, and two months before the N.W.A biopic, also called Straight Outta Compton, arrives in theaters, here were the best parts of the N.W.A. reunion.
The fact that it really happened.
Ice Cube ran through almost a half hour of material before the lights cut out and the crowd saw a Straight Outta Compton trailer. (The N.W.A. biopic is out in August.) Then the group’s iconic blood-red logo appeared on screen, Ice Cube threw on a Raiders jersey, MC Ren joined him in front of the stage, and DJ Yella took up the turntables. They explained who they were with “Chin Check” to finally christen the reunion.
The marquee song did not disappoint.
There were obvious tongue-in-cheek setups to songs all night, but the best came when a youthful Dr. Dre relayed the opening of “Straight Outta Compton”: “You are now about to witness the strength of street knowledge.” Ice Cube attacked the beat like it was 1988 all over again, while MC Ren cleanly delivered his screed. The crowd went wild.
The Eazy-E tribute.
After some songs, Ice Cube and MC Ren left the stage to honor Eazy-E (whose real name was Eric Wright) with a video and song montage curated by DJ Yella. “Without his vision, you wouldn’t see what you see today,” Ice Cube said before departing. No one filled in for his lines; they were skipped over. The interlude featured candid studio footage and music video clips featuring Eazy-E — including “Boyz-n-the-Hood,” Eazy-E’s 1987 solo debut.
The appearance of Ice Cube Jr.
“Dopeman” is Cube’s standout moment on N.W.A. and the Posse, but he passed it to someone else to perform: his son, O’Shea Jackson Jr., who plays his dad in the forthcoming biopic.
The powerful & relevant political message about police brutality.
During “F–k tha Police,” a compilation video featuring images of recent police brutality and the nationwide protests following the deaths of Michael Brown and Eric Garner played behind N.W.A. (Clips from Straight Outta Compton were interspersed as well.) The powerful montage was captured by a fan at the concert, and can be watched here.