N.W.A. Will Receive The Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award

N.W.A. changed culture in the late 1980s and early 1990s. The collective, launched by Eazy-E, included Dr. Dre, Ice Cube, MC Ren, DJ Yella, and Arabian Prince, and helped bring the city of Compton, California to the mainstream entertainment lexicon.

While superstar careers emerged out of the Gangsta Rap outfit, N.W.A. never received Grammy Awards as a unit. However, over the last decade, N__az Wit Attitude have earned huge recognition from the Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame, The Library Of Congress, and The Grammy Hall Of Fame. That fanfare continues into 2024, as N.W.A. will receive the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Recording Academy.

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The event will take place on February 3 at the Wilshire Ebell Theatre in Los Angeles, California. That venue is just miles from the city of Compton where N.W.A. formed.

The Academy criteria for the Lifetime Achievement Award is “performers who, during their lifetimes, have made creative contributions of outstanding artistic significance to the field of recording.” It is voted upon by the Recording Academy’s National Trustees. Other 2024 recipients include Donna Summer, Gladys Knight, Tammy Wynette, Laurie Anderson, and The Clark Sisters.

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Past Hip Hop recipients of the Lifetime Achievement Award include Salt-n-Pepa, Public Enemy, Grandmaster Flash & the Furious Five, Run-D.M.C., and 2023 trophy-winner Slick Rick. Last year, surrounding Hip-Hop’s 50th birthday, Dr. Dre took home an award named in his honor, the inaugural Dr. Dre Global Impact Award—presented by LL Cool J.

By the completion of N.W.A.’s Straight Outta Compton album, Arabian Prince left the group. Ahead of 1990’s 100 Miles And Runnin’ EP, Ice Cube exited amid an acrimonious financial dispute with Ruthless Records, Eazy-E, and label president Jerry Heller. The crew disbanded shortly after the pop charts-topping release of 1991’s efil4zaggiN, giving way to solo careers. In 1995, Eazy-E died of complications related to the AIDs virus. Twenty years later, N.W.A.’s story was brought to screen in Straight Outta Compton. That film, executive produced by Cube, Dre, and Eazy’s widow, garnered an Oscar nomination.

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While Dre has won seven Grammy’s, Eazy, Cube, Ren, and Yella have never received a trophy from the Academy.

Dr. Dre is said to be producing a Snoop Dogg album, Missionary, that is slated to include advisement from N.W.A. affiliate The D.O.C. In 2023, Ice Cube and MC Ren reunited on DJ Muggs’ Soul Assassins 3: Death Valley album. In 2021, DJ Yella published a memoir.

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In 2023, for Hip-Hop’s 50th, Ambrosia For Heads listed the 25 most important albums in the genre, including two from N.W.A., and one from Dre.

#BonusBeat: The D.O.C. reflected on working with N.W.A. during a 2023 conversation with AFH‘s What’s The Headline podcast: