Review #90: (Classic Album) N.W.A – Straight Outta Compton

Artist – N.W.A
Album – Straight Outta Compton

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N.W.A (Niggaz Wit Attitudes) are a Hip Hop group from Compton, California, USA. The group consisted of 6 members, Dr Dre, Ice Cube, Eazy-E, DJ Yella, MC Ren and Arabian Prince. During their short initial 5 years together (before the reunion) N.W.A managed to build a legacy which consisted of popularising gangsta rap and West Coast hip hop, Selling 10 million units of their albums, receiving a desist letter from the FBI due to songs such as ‘Fuck Tha Police’ and being placed 83rd in the Rolling Stones ‘100 Greatest Artists of All Time’. Each member of the group went on to build their own legacy through solo albums, films, production or headphones designing. N.W.A only released 2 albums during their time together, however these albums spoke to a generation of young people that felt they weren’t being listened to, especially the debut album ‘Straight Outta Compton’.

‘Straight Outta Compton’ starts out strong with N.W.A’s two most popular and influential tracks. First is the title track which introduces each member, giving them a verse each and also displays the nature and topics that are going to be spoken about in the rest of the album (police, shootings, drugs, Compton). Next comes the groups most controversial song ‘Fuck Tha Police’, which stopped a number of record stores from selling their music and numerous run ins with the police themselves, however the song simply stated what many young black people were experiencing at the time. The album goes on to include numerous socially, economically and politically driven songs, but also includes a song that focuses on actually talking about these issue, the song ‘Express Yourself’. As is popular in the hip-hop scene, ‘Express Yourself’ sampled the song of the same name by Charles Wright & The Watts 103rd Street Rhythm Band, just including the group rapping over the top, unlike the rest of the album including little profanity or violence. The 3 artists that became most prominent in N.W.A were Dr Dre, Ice Cube and Eazy-E, which honestly i think is fair. The other members probably didn’t get as much opportunity to get their voice or face shown within the group and they were all very talented themselves, but the three i just mentioned certainly had stand out vocal and delivery styles within their verses, not just within N.W.A and this album but within hip-hop as a whole.

Straight Outta Compton is one of a handful of albums by a handful of artists that really impacted its listener to change the status quo of the situation they were living in. This album is lyrically impressive, impressive on a songwriting standpoint and pretty much created a genre within itself, which is why it’s still considered one of the greatest hip-hop/rap albums of all time.

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