Ice Cube is doing his best to reanimate the N.W.A brand ahead of the upcoming biopic of the legendary rap crew, planning a live appearance with select surviving members later this June.
Cube will perform songs with MC Ren and DJ Yella at the L.A. concert, which will be part of a larger BET Experience show at the Staples Center. But does it really qualify as an N.W.A. reunion?
“It’s just gonna be a great night,” Ice Cube tells Rolling Stone. “We’re gonna be there with Snoop, Kendrick Lamar, Schoolboy Q. It’s just gonna be one of those ‘I wish I were there in L.A. nights.’ And we’re gonna rock that shit, no problem.”
The upcoming Aug. 14 release of Straight Outta Compton, the N.W.A biopic Cube co-produced with Dr. Dre and Eazy-E’s widow Tomica Woods-Wright, recounts the 10-year lifespan of the group from the mid-Eighties through Eazy-E’s death in 1995. Things recently got a little too real on the set, where a drive-by shooting occurred. Neighborhood residents near the set were reportedly throwing gang signs at the shooters, resulting in the gunfire. Because contorting your fingers like you have cerebral palsy is super hardcore serious in the hood, yo. In 2015, people are still trying to act like we’re living in some gangsta rap video from 1991. Let’s make a movie about it!
“I’m gonna bring out some of the old favorites,” Cube says of the concert, declining to name which specific songs he’ll perform. “We’re gonna bring back some memories up in there for sure.”
As for Dre’s involvement on the “historic” night, Cube told Rolling Stone: “You know, if you wish upon a star, you never know [laughs]. You never know. It’s like, I hope he blesses us with his presence. But if not, I’ve been rockin’ for a long time without anybody. So whoever shows up, I’m still gonna rock. Whoever don’t show up, we still gonna rock.”
Let’s be realistic here. The only way this night will be “historic” is if Dre actually shows up, and we’re not forced to sit through stand-ins for nearly half the defining sounds of the group. But without Dre and Eazy-E, aren’t we just hoping for gold from the guy who made Are We There Yet? and its sequel?
In the end, we may even hear some new N.W.A. sounds, “We’re definitely dibbling and dabbling, so to speak. It’s all about how great it comes out when you’re creating something.” but let’s measure our expectations. Dre is nowhere to be found.