About the Time Guns N’ Roses Nearly Toured With N.W.A
Years before they teamed up with Metallica for one of the most highly anticipated tours of the early '90s, the guys in Guns N' Roses briefly entertained the idea of performing with another hugely popular group — in a decidedly different genre.
In the wake of their multiplatinum Appetite for Destruction LP, GNR were one of the biggest rock bands on the planet — and in the late '80s and early '90s, rock still ruled the charts. But hip-hop had been on the rise for years, and sample-heavy acts like Run-D.M.C. and the Beastie Boys had proven there was a major mainstream audience for rock/hip-hop crossovers — one of which nearly took place between Guns N' Roses and N.W.A.
Speaking with Rolling Stone last year to commemorate their second full-length effort, 1991's Efil4zaggin, the surviving members of N.W.A recalled the small amount of creative cross-pollination between the two acts, which included N.W.A lifting the title "Appetite for Destruction" for a track on their own LP. Admitting he'd been inspired to use the title by GNR, MC Ren remembered a meeting between the two groups.
"They had a show at the Forum in Inglewood, and we went to hang out with them before and after the show," Ren said. "We had heard that Axl was an N.W.A fan. ... I remember talking to Axl backstage in the dressing room and he started rapping. I can't remember how it went, but he busted a rhyme."
That backstage summit apparently led to an offer from the GNR camp to share the stage — one that unfortunately ended up being derailed by money.
"We were supposed to do a couple of shows with them, but our manager got too greedy," added DJ Yella. "They wanted to give us $25,000 for 10 minutes, but our management wanted $50,000 so it didn't work. We might have ended up doing a whole bunch of shows with them."
It's a pairing that likely would have raised a few eyebrows at the time, but GNR and N.W.A had more in common than anyone knew at the time — including both groups' unfortunate propensity for bust-ups among members. By the mid-'90s, the original Guns N' Roses lineup had splintered, while the members of N.W.A had long since split up to pursue solo projects (and beef with one another on record). But intriguing as the idea of those shows remains, perhaps it's all for the best that it didn't work out: as Yella admitted when recalling the GNR show he attended, "I remember having a headache for three days, that music was so loud."
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