Formed in the 1980s in the troubled Compton neighbourhood of Los Angeles and enjoying new fame through the 2015 biopic Straight Outta Compton, the group is only the fifth hip hop act ever to be voted into the Hall of Fame. The rappers had been nominated three times before.
N.W.A. made waves for their often inflammatory songs that reflected the violence, crime and anti-police sentiments of their neighbourhood and went on to sell more than 100 million records.
Founding member Ice Cube said the group had earned their place in the Hall of Fame, just as the pioneers of jazz, blues, punk, rock and pop before them.
“We have come a long way from being so hated in the industry to making it to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame,” Ice Cube said. “Rock and roll is not conforming to the people who came before you but creating your own path in music and in life.”
British metal band Deep Purple, soft rock-pop group Chicago, singer Steve Miller and 1970s rock band Cheap Trick rounded out the 2016 inductees, who were chosen by fans and more than 800 voters of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
Artists are eligible for inclusion 25 years after the release of their first recording.
Miller, who moved from blues to pop and back again to produce 1970s hits such as The Joker and Fly Like an Eagle, lashed out backstage at the induction process.
He criticised restrictions over music and video licencing for the show and complained about being offered only two tickets for family and friends for the ceremony. “This came so close to not happening,” Miller said of his appearance at the ceremony. “They make it so unpleasant.”