On Friday night in Brooklyn, the rap group N.W.A will join an array of white men with guitars as honorees at the 31st annual Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremony.
As only the fifth hip-hop act ever voted in (after Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five, Run-DMC, the Beastie Boys and Public Enemy), and the first not from New York, this Compton, Calif., group represents by far the most unconventional selection in a Hall of Fame class that is rounded out by classic-rock radio favorites from the late 1960s and ’70s: Cheap Trick, Chicago, Deep Purple and Steve Miller.
For N.W.A — whose core members included Ice Cube, Dr. Dre, Eazy-E, M.C. Ren and D.J. Yella — the honor comes on the heels of a legacy-defining year that brought the release of the biopic “Straight Outta Compton.” The film, released last fall, went on to gross more than $160 million at the box office, while revitalizing interest in N.W.A’s brash, political gangster rap. (The group released just two studio albums, in 1988 and 1991; Eazy-E died in 1995.)