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Straight Outta Compton: How N.W.A. Changed the World Forever

Updated on January 6, 2019

Straight Outta Compton: How N.W.A. Changed the World Forever

What is an opinion writer? Essentially, they are people who write about their opinions on various subject matters. Usually, they make pieces from the latest controversies in their area or all over the world. For example, an opinion writer in Houston, TX could write about how he/she perceives the Carmelo Anthony - Houston Rockets situation. Needless to say, opinion writers would shoot from their gut and tell it the way they see it. Just like opinion writers, rappers do the exact same thing. They use their feelings and experiences to write their lyrics, which ranges from love ballads to violence and bloodshed. Rappers will tell you how they feel through a masterful combination of wit and honesty. Speaking of which, let’s talk about a group that was able to turn their controversial experiences into the art form of rap. Not only did they alter the landscape of music, but they also changed the world through sheer and brutal honesty. This group was known as N.W.A.

The roots of N.W.A. started when Eric “Eazy-E” Wright formed Ruthless Records with the intention of giving a platform to aspiring rappers in Compton, CA. He didn’t have much success until O’Shea “Ice Cube” Jackson and Andre “Dr. Dre” Young started writing and producing for the fledgling label. The trio then formed N.W.A. in 1986 and they made an immediate impact. Right off the gate, they hit the rap scene hard by dropping the legendary single “Boyz-n-the Hood.” The message of the song resonated with young African-Americans who lived in the ghetto, as it was a reflection of what happens in their life. Eventually, N.W.A. released their debut album called N.W.A. and the Posse in 1987. Unfortunately, this album was largely ignored due to it being a party-oriented record.

Unfazed, the trio went on with the group and added two more members, namely Lorenzo “MC Ren” Patterson and Antoine “DJ Yella” Carraby, in 1988. With this line-up, N.W.A. would quickly finish their sophomore album called Straight Outta Compton. It was in this album where the whole world saw the ghetto through the eyes of these 5 young African-American men. This rap record was a social commentary of a young black man’s daily struggle, which included viciousness of the violence in the streets and constant harassment from the police. This album was also unique at the time, as it became an underground hit without the traditional support of media platforms. This album provided N.W.A. the platform to revolutionize the music industry. Through this record, they were able to motivate the youth to turn their experiences into an art form, may it be through rap or to become future columnists in places like Houston, TX.

Although Straight Outta Compton was full of songs that entail the group’s feelings and experiences, there was one song that stood out from the rest: F**k tha Police. This highly controversial song was, and still is, the subject of debate concerning the boundaries of musical creativity. F**k tha Police was so vicious that everybody from the US President to the FBI condemned it. It was heavily directed at the authority that the FBI sent Ruthless Records a letter warning N.W.A. for using such lyrics. Despite this, N.W.A continued on to create songs that provided a reflection of the black man’s reality which, unfortunately, continues up to this day.

Eventually, the group broke up due to internal conflicts that plagued them. Ice Cube left the group in 1989 to start a solo career and Dr. Dre left in 1992 to form Death Row Records with Marion “Suge” Knight. Eazy-E, DJ Yella, and MC Ren tried their hand at solo careers but was unable to capture the success they had with N.W.A. Tragically, Eazy-E would later be diagnosed with AIDS and would succumb to the disease in 1995.

Despite their short existence, the legacy of N.W.A. would live on up until today. They are still regarded as the “World’s Most Dangerous (Rap) Group” and the pinnacle of pushing the envelope in the music scene. Their impact on music was undeniable and they were awarded a spot in the Rock ‘N Roll Hall of Fame in 2016. They have inspired countless rappers and even opinion writers in places like Houston, TX to use their experiences to create an art form that is truly theirs. The story of N.W.A. is a road filled with controversies, but when you look at it in another perspective, it’s just seeing the reality behind the eyes of 5 African-American men who want to make something out of their lives and portray the reality of living as a black man in a world of white men. In the end, they did and then some. Isn’t that what truly matters?

Sources:

https://www.allmusic.com/artist/nwa-mn0000314793/biography

https://mixmag.net/feature/how-nwa-changed-hip-hop-forever

https://www.latimes.com/entertainment/music/la-et-ms-nwa-parental-discretion-20171205-htmlstory.html

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