Last night, Compton’s legendary rap group N.W.A was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame — and who better to do the honors than Compton’s own Kendrick Lamar.
The Grammy-winning rapper made a touching speech about the group, paying tribute to their legacy and highlighting mentor Dr. Dre, who helped pave the way for him and other West-Coast rappers.
Here are some of the highlights of Kendrick’s emotional speech:
On how N.W.A influenced his life:
“(Public Enemy’s) Chuck D once said rap and hip hop was the black CNN. N.W.A represent that to the fullest. Bringing inner city life to the forefront and making the world pay attention to our realities. … The fact that a famous group can look just like one of us, dress like one of us and talk like one of us proved to every single kid in the ghetto that you can be successful and still have importance while doing it. That was N.W.A. That was their true message. I know each and every one of them said they never wanted to be role models, but look: The first time I see Eazy bust through that screen out the jail cell on stage on We Want Eazy, I felt like every single one of them was black superheroes where I come from.”
What Dr. Dre has taught him:
“This dude here taught me a lot, as far as never being satisfied with the work you do, on and off the record. … No. 2, make sure you take care of your music and your family each and every single day. I never forget those words. Since the first day meeting me, you always gave me the energy, saying ‘Superstar!’ You never called me Kendrick Lamar. That gave me the belief in what I was doing and also gave me the energy of knowing I was doing it right. I appreciate you for that.”
Congratulations to N.W.A on this well-deserved honor. Read more from Kendrick’s speech here.