Twenty-six years after N.W.A’s debut Straight Outta Compton, Dr. Dre and Ice Cube grace the cover of Rolling Stone. The legendary rappers, along with MC Ren and DJ Yella, open up to the magazine about the rise of the world’s most dangerous group, their triumphs and controversies, and the F. Gary Gray-directed biopic, which hits theaters Friday.
Dre reflects on his controversial past and admits to making some “fu**ing horrible mistakes in my life,” including the 1991 incident when he assaulted TV host Dee Barnes, as well as claims of physical abuse by former girlfriend Michel’le.
The reclusive mogul also speaks on the death of Detox and his “social anxiety,” which has kept him away from the limelight. “I don’t like being in the spotlight, so I made a fu**ing weird career choice,” he says.
Cube also defends N.W.A’s lyrical treatment of women, saying, “I never understood why an upstanding lady would even think we’re talking about her.”
Read highlights from the issue before it hits newsstands on Friday.
Ice Cube on the N.W.A story: “You had to see why we did the music. You know, not just ‘we were young, angry ni**as out of South Central,’ but why did we make those kind of records? We were living in the middle of dope dealing, gangbanging, police brutality, fu**ing Reaganomics, and there was nowhere to escape.”
Dr. Dre on Detox: “I had between 20 and 40 songs for Detox, and I just couldn’t feel it. Usually I can hear the sequence of an album as I’m going, but I wasn’t able to do that. I wasn’t feeling it in my gut. So I really thought I was done being an artist.”
Dre on abuse allegations: “I made some fu**ing horrible mistakes in my life. I was young, fu**ing stupid. I would say all the allegations aren’t true—some of them are. Those are some of the things that I would like to take back. It was really fu**ed up. But I paid for those mistakes, and there’s no way in hell that I will ever make another mistake like that again.”
Cube on N.W.A’s misogynistic lyrics: “If you’re a bitch, you’re probably not going to like us. If you’re a ho, you probably don’t like us. If you’re not a ho or a bitch, don’t be jumping to the defense of these despicable females. Just like I shouldn’t be jumping to the defense of no punks or no cowards or no slimy son of a bitches that’s men. I never understood why an upstanding lady would even think we’re talking about her.”
Dre on why he remains out of the spotlight: “I have social anxiety. I don’t like being in the spotlight, so I made a fu**ing weird career choice. That’s the reason for my mystique and why I’m so secluded and why everybody knows nothing about me. I think it added to the character in the movie because people get a chance to see behind the curtain.”