Dr. Dre, Ice Cube and surviving members of N.W.A finally perform together -- at Coachella

Ice Cube is joined by Dr. Dre, MC Ren and DJ Yella, from left, at Coachella. They dedicated their performance to the late N.W.A founding member "Eazy-E" and to Prince.
Ice Cube is joined by Dr. Dre, MC Ren and DJ Yella, from left, at Coachella. They dedicated their performance to the late N.W.A founding member “Eazy-E” and to Prince.
(Jay L. Clendenin / Los Angeles Times )

What seemed like the impossible finally happened: The surviving members of N.W.A performed together for the first time in nearly 30 years.

After a partial reunion at Ice Cube’s main-stage slot during the first weekend of the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival, it appeared the rapper would again keep the reunion limited to MC Ren and DJ Yella — and not Dr. Dre — when he brought them out midway through his set Saturday night.



The trio tore their fiery anthem, “Straight Outta Compton” before Cube introduced Lil Eazy-E, the son of late N.W.A founder Eric “Eazy-E” Wright, who the show was dedicated to along with Prince. (Cube even wore a purple bandana and purple sneakers in tribute.)

“Last week I brought out my son … it’s only right I bring out the son of the godfather of gangster rap,” Cube said before Lil Eazy performed his late father’s seminal debut, “Boyz-n-the-Hood.”

As N.W.A performed their once controversial “F— tha Police” it looked like Dre would, again, sit this one out, despite having just appeared with the group at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremony.

But then Cube stopped the show.

“Now wait a …. minute, I said we were gonna have N.W.A. Somebody’s missing,” Cube told the crowd, inciting applause and the simultaneous raising of thousands of smartphones.

“Is there a doctor in the house?”

Dre, dressed in head-to-toe black like Ren and Yella, emerged from a platform above the stage.

Last summer at the BET Experience, Cube, Ren and Yella performed together for the first time since Cube exited the group, but Dre didn’t appear. And ahead of their induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame it was announced that the four surviving members would finally reunite to perform.


But alas, it didn’t happen.

“It’s probably a little of everyone’s fault that it didn’t come together,” Cube told The Times before the ceremony. “It’s probably a good thing. When we all come back together, we want it to be enormous.

That changed on Saturday night — with a slight asterisk: The quartet didn’t perform any N.W.A numbers.

Microphone in hand, Dre tore into his own classic “Still D.R.E.,” with assists from the groundbreaking group that launched him to stardom decades ago.

It was the first time the four surviving members performed together since 1989, before Cube exited the group over financial disputes.

Dre stuck around for another song, but he opted to skip anything from his time in N.W.A (sorry to all the fans hoping for “Express Yourself” in 2016). Instead he went for a West Coast rap standard, “California Love” — another one of his own hits.

After the short medley they exited the stage together before Cube returned to finish the set — and surprise the crowd with a performance alongside Kendrick Lamar.

Here’s hoping it doesn’t take another 27 years to get these guys to perform together again.

For more music news follow me on Twitter: @gerrickkennedy


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