Who Will Fill-In For Eazy-E At N.W.A.'s Rock & Roll HOF Performance?
When news broke Thursday morning that N.W.A. would be inducted into the next class at the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, we (and the whole hip-hop world) were elated. “This means that the group’s mark is solidified,” Ice Cube said during a new interview with Rolling Stone. “We got some of the most creative, talented people in N.W.A that’s ever been compiled in one group. It’s just exciting that the group as a whole gets recognized by the whole industry as Hall of Fame-worthy.”
“I have always done what I love to do, so to be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame is unreal. I am humbled to be included in such an amazing group of great artists,” Dr. Dre added in the same interview.
To see Ice Cube, Dr. Dre, MC Ren, Arabian Prince and DJ Yella all get their due alongside some of the most legendary bands and solo artists of all time is a massive achievement–a triumph for the culture. However, one question has us hung up.
It’s customary for a tribute performance to accompany a group’s induction, and while often times another band, solo artist, or supergroup will perform while the inductees look on, in other instances the guests of honor themselves will take to the stage to show, once more, why they deserve to be considered one of the greats. Should N.W.A. take the stage to perform one of their classic early West Coast cuts, who might possibly fill in for their departed member, Eazy-E? Who could possibly fill the shoes of that legendary MC and stand on stage, holding their own beside the likes of Ice Cube, Dre and company? We have at least a few guesses…
1) Eric Wright Jr. (aka Lil Eazy-E)
Right off the bat, this makes the most sense. Lil’ Eazy-E is the man’s son after all, and like his father, the MC has made hip-hop his life’s work. In the past, Eric Wright Jr. has said on record that N.W.A.’s music and legacy is untouchable, but this is strictly a matter of tribute, not replacement. We’re confident he could do his dad proud.
2) Kendrick Lamar
To help out the great group in West Coast rap history, why not pick the greatest West Coast rapper alive? Kendrick Lamar’s phenomenal rhyme skills are practically common knowledge at this point, and the MC has received numerous co-signs from Dr. Dre and and other wizened masters. Lamar’s guest roles on Compton certainly sured-up his ties with the group, and it would be plenty proper to see him up there on stage, doing justice to Eazy-E’s classic lines.
3) Snoop Dogg
With his close ties to Dr. Dre and premier status in the West Coast canon, Snoop Dogg is as solid a choice as any to fill in for Eazy-E. Anyone who has caught the Doggfather live already knows that he absolutely demolishes crowds in a live setting; putting him up there on Rock & Roll’s biggest stage would be no reason for pause or uncertainty.
4) Freddie Gibbs
This may seem unlikely, but with his firm commitment to gangster rap lyricism, tough Gary, Indiana upbringing, current LA residence and absolutely phenomenal rap skills, Freddie Gibbs could be a fantastic dark horse choice for an N.W.A. sit-in.
5) No one…
The more you think about it, the more it seems likely that no one will be called up to pass for the departed E. Dre, Ice Cube and co can easily cover Eazy-E’s verses, perhaps splitting up each line or batch of 8 bars, collectively holding up the legacy of their fallen comrade. It might prove even more powerful if, in the end, an N.W.A. tribute just features a few instrumental seconds–some vocal silence that stands in still recognition of the legend that tragically passed away decades ago.