Kendrick Lamar Delivers Heartfelt Speech for NWA’s Rock Hall Induction

Dr. Dre Kendrick Lamar Hall of FameKendrick Lamar inducted NWA into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in a way that only someone who was personally connected to the group could.

The artist is the latest chart-topper to come straight outta Compton, where NWA began, and was given the honor of of paying tribute to the pioneering group as they joined other musical greats in the Rock Hall. Making sure to take his time and give each member their due, the rapper certainly did justice to Dr. Dre, Eazy-E, Ice Cube, DJ Yella, and MC Ren.

While praising the group’s individual talents and what unique qualities they each brought that made them valuable members, Lamar also took time to talk about how the group changed hip-hop as a genre and black culture as a whole, as well as thanking his mentor, Dr. Dre.

You can read some highlights from Kendrick’s emphatic speech below:

On Ice Cube’s “storytelling genuis”:

“Cube! Where y’all at? I said Ice Cube? Storytelling genius. Every bar had us hanging over our seats. Punchline, delivery, detailed imagery made you get just a small glimpse of how it was growing up in the city of Compton, you dig what I’m saying? Cube was always proving to be one of the greatest MCs to ever step behind the mic, and on a personal level, my debut album, you was the blueprint on how I went to approach it. That’s for real, you dig what I’m saying, so salute to that. That’s 100.”

On NWA’s true impact and message:

“Chuck D once said rap and hip-hop was the black CNN… Bringing inner city life to the forefront and making the world pay attention to our realities. Even myself, I look around and I’ve seen people N.W.A spoke for, whether it was my cousin, whether it was my uncle, they were Compton Crip or Piru, they was all influenced… It was all influence, and it all had a deep impression. What they know is a big misconception. The impression was just that they’re trying to kill people. To be clear, to be very clear, the fact that a famous group can look just like one of us and dress like one of us, 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. And 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. Because it shows, like I said, people from our community can be on that television screen, be on awards, and still have their voice and be real to themselves.”

On his friendship with Dr. Dre:

“Doc Dre! Dr. Dre! The scientist! The perfectionist. The producer extraordinaire. My mentor, you dig what I’m saying? This dude here taught me a lot as far as never being satisfied with the work you do, on and off the record. Whether I’m on the mic, whether I’m out in life, in general, always taught me that. Number two, make sure you take care of your music and your family each and every single day. I never forget the words, you dig what I’m saying? Since the first day meeting me, you always gave me the energy, saying “Superstar!” You never called me Kendrick Lamar. So that gave me the belief in what I was doing, and also gave me the energy of knowing I was doing it right, and then I became. I appreciate you for that, every time.”

pictured: Dr. Dre (L) and Kendrick Lamar pose in the press room at the 31st Annual Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame Induction Ceremony at Barclays Center on April 8, 2016 in New York City. (Photo Credit: Mike Coppola/Getty Images)