For its latest issue of Nowstalgia, Paper asked Kendrick Lamar to detail the influence of fellow Compton, California rapper and N.W.A member Eazy-E. Lamar remembers seeing the video for “We Want Eazy” as a kid and being inspired by Eazy-E’s persona.
“I think the concept of the video was that he was actually in jail and he had to get to his show and the only way to get to his concert was to film him from jail, and he eventually busted through the jail and came onstage,” he says. “I remember looking at that video and just feeling like, ‘Man, this dude feels like an action superhero.’ Little did I know, Eazy-E came from my same neighborhood in Compton.”
Lamar says that the late rapper encouraged him to take pride in his city and rap about real life issues.
“I didn’t get that idea until my debut album, good kid, m.A.A.d city, came out and that’s when I truly understood how N.W.A felt,” he says of the group’s acclaim, “coming from this small neighborhood but going all the way around the world and seeing these people singing these words lyric-for-lyric and understanding the trials and tribulations that are going on in the community. I understand how they feel now. It’s an inspiring thing. Once I got the idea that people are actually listening, it made me want to continue making music more.”
Kendrick Lamar interviewed the remaining members of N.W.A for Billboard in conjunction with the N.W.A biopic Straight Outta Compton.
“We had no idea we’d blow up this major,” Dr. Dre said. “You see, every time we went into the studio we were only trying to make tracks that would rock our neighborhood.”
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