N.W.A – Straight Outta Compton Anniversary

N.W.A released their debut album “Straight Outta Compton” back on August 8, 1988.  The album was produced by DJ Yella and Dr Dre and is hailed as probably the greatest west coast album in Hip Hop history.  It changed the rap game forever creating a new sub-genre, “gangsta-rap”.  With all due respect, Ice T was the first Los Angeles rapper doing gangsta rap tracks, but N.W.A took it to another level and the genre only grew from there!

I was 17 and living in East Los Angeles when this album dropped and even though I had already heard tracks like “Gangsta Gangsta“, “8 Ball” and “Dopeman“, when I heard the album for the first time, my jaw dropped.  “Fuck The Police” made my head spin.  I remember sitting on my porch with my boombox and my next door coming up to me and saying, “Look what I got!”.  As soon as I saw the cover art, I ran inside to get a blank TDK tape and pressed record.  That tape stayed in there for about a month until I went to the Tower Records and got an official copy!

As soon as I popped in the tape, I hear the static noise for about 3 seconds and then I hear Dre say , “You are now about to witness the strength of street knowledge“.  You knew this ish was going to be on another level!  I just didn’t know how important this album was going to be, not only in the evolution of west coast Hip Hop, but Hip Hop as a whole!

The title track “Straight Outta Compton” samples the “Amen, Brother” track and every time we hear that sample on another track we always say, “that’s that Straight Outta Compton beat!”.  Ice Cube, MC Ren and Eazy E kill on this track, but everyone and their grandma know’s that Cube stole the show with lines like these:

Straight outta Compton, crazy motherfucker named Ice Cube
From the gang called Niggas With Attitudes
When I’m called off, I got a sawed off
Squeeze the trigger, and bodies are hauled off
You too, boy, if ya fuck with me
The police are gonna hafta come and get me
Off yo ass, that’s how I’m goin out
For the punk motherfuckers that’s showin out
Niggaz start to mumble, they wanna rumble
Mix em and cook em in a pot like gumbo
Goin off on a motherfucker like that
With a gat that’s pointed at yo ass
So give it up smooth
Ain’t no tellin when I’m down for a jack move
Here’s a murder rap to keep yo dancin
With a crime record like Charles Manson
AK-47 is the tool
Don’t make me act the motherfuckin fool
Me you can go toe to toe, no maybe
I’m knockin niggaz out tha box, daily
Yo weekly, monthly and yearly
Until them dumb motherfuckers see clearly
That I’m down with the capital C-P-T
Boy you can’t fuck with me
So when I’m in your neighborhood, you better duck
Cause Ice Cube is crazy as fuck
As I leave, believe I’m stompin
But when I come back, boy, I’m comin straight outta Compton

Funny how MTV banned the video because of the “violence” it portrayed!  What violence?

As soon as that track is over “Damn that shit was dope“, we get the mind blowing “Fuck The Police”.  The track was so dope, the group was issued a warning from the FBI. It samples the same beat Public Enemy used for “Bring The Noise” and  it became the anthem for the LA riots in 1992.  On this one, I will say that Ren stole the show, (just my opinion).

F*ck the police & Ren said it with authority
Because the niggas on the street is a majority
A gang – that is wit whoever i am steppin
And a motherf*ckin weapon is kept in
A stand-by for the so called law
Wishin Ren was a nigga that they never saw
Lights all flashin behind me
But they are scared of a nigga so they mace to blind me
But that shit dont work, I just laugh
Because it gives em a hint not to step in my path
To police, I am sayin, “F*ck you punk!”
Readin my rights & shit – it is all junk
Pullin out a silly club so you stand
With a fake-assed badge & a gun in your hand
But take off the gun so you can see whats up
And we will go at it, punk, & I am a f*ck you up
Make you think I am a kick your ass
But drop your gat & Rens going to blast
I am sneaky as f*ck when it comes to crime
But I am a smoke em now & not next time
Smoke any motherf*cker that sweats me
And any asshole that threatens me
I am a sniper with a hell of a scope
Takin out a cop or two that cant cope with me
The motherf*ckin villain that is mad
With potential to get bad as f*ck
So I am a turn it around
Put in my clip, yo
And this is the sound
Yea, Somethin like that
But it all depends on the size of the gat
Takin out a police would make my day
But a nigga like Ren dont give a f*ck to say…

MC Ren has 2 solo tracks “Quiet On Tha Set” and “If It Ain’t Ruff” and both are crazy bangin.  MC Ren lives in the shadow of Ice Cube’s lyrics, but in no way is he beneath Cube.  I really believe he may be more talented lyrically than Cube, but how do you argue with Cube’s longevity and catalog?

Express Yourself” was written by Cube and a Dr Dre solo, and the track samples the song of the same name by Charles Wright.  The remix is way better, but for that you would have to get it as a b-side.

The one track that is way off the radar is “Something 2 Dance 2” that was written by Arabian Prince and was made more for dancing than chillin to.  Still, the track bangs and it shows you that Arabian Prince was no slouch and would have created some dope tracks for N.W.A.  It just didn’t fit the “formula” once they went “gangsta” on us.

The song that made me laugh and say “dayum” was “I Ain’t Tha 1” where Dre samples a dope and funky “The Message” by Brass Construction and has Ice Cube talking about some serious man problems when it comes to women.  Misogynistic?  Maybe, but man is it dope!  As men, we all have those experiences with those particular women, so we know that NOT ALL women are like that.  But let’s forget about the message and sit back and listen to Cube teach us all a good lesson!

I ain’t the one, the one to get played like a pooh butt
See I’m from the street, so I know what’s up
On these silly games that’s played by the women
I’m only happy when I’m goin up in em
But you know, I’m a menace to society
But girls in biker shorts are so fly to me
So I step to em, with aggression
Listen to the kid, and learn a lesson today
See they think we narrow minded
Cause they got a cute face, and big-behinded
So I walk over and say “How ya doin?”
See I’m only down for screwin, but you know
ya gotta play it off cool
Cause if they catch you slippin, you’ll get schooled
And they’ll get you for your money, son
Next thing you know you’re gettin their hair and they nails done
Fool, and they’ll let you show em off
But when it comes to sex, they got a bad cough
Or a headache, it’s all give and no take
Run out of money, and watch your heart break
They’ll drop you like a bad habit
cause a brother with money yo, they gotta have it
Messin with me though, they gets none
You can’t juice Ice Cube girl, cause I ain’t the one

Living in LA will make you extremely bias, but I can tell you that this album is in my Top 10 Hip Hop albums of all time.  Dre went on to bring us artists like Snoop, Eminem and 50 Cent, Ice Cube has a catalog for days, MC Ren had a dope solo career and Eazy brought us Bone Thugs before his untimely passing.  Their influence on the rap world is extremely important and without them, who knows where we would be today.  We salute you N.W.A.  All Yall!  PEACE!

 

-Al E.

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