Gangsta rap pioneers N.W.A. will reunite for a European tour with superstar Eminem as an honorary member, an entertainment executive said Wednesday. The news came ahead of the release next month of “Straight Outta Compton,” a biopic about the Los Angeles-area group whose angry, unapologetic songs about street life shocked parts of white America in the late 1980s. Donna Langley, chairperson of Universal Studios, which is releasing the film, said in an interview that a reunited N.W.A. would promote the movie with a tour of unspecified European destinations. “We don’t have anything settled yet with everyone’s schedules,” she told The Hollywood Reporter. “But we think it can create a lot of buzz,” she was quoted as saying.
The trade publication said Eminem would perform as an “honorary member,” presumably taking the spot of Eazy-E who died in 1995 from complications of AIDS. Eminem, the best-selling rapper of all time, started his career under the wing of N.W.A. member Dr. Dre, who has gone on to become one of the music industry’s most successful business moguls. Dr Dre’s role helped bring credibility to Eminem, who is white, among African-American audiences. N.W.A. won a wide following but enraged politicians with its defining 1988 song “Fuck tha Police” which indicted white officers over their treatment of young African-American men. N.W.A. member Ice Cube, who went on to a successful solo career, reunited last month with former bandmates MC Ren and DJ Yella for a one-off reunion show in Los Angeles for Black Entertainment Television.
But Dr Dre, who was busy working on Apple’s launch of a new streaming service, was absent. Dr Dre last performed with his former band mates during the 2000 “Up in Smoke Tour” across North America, which brought together leading rappers including Eminem. Representatives for Eminem and the surviving N.W.A. members did not immediately comment on tour plans. — AFP