Thursday, December 13, 2012

144 Straight outta Compton

Album: Straight outta compton
Artist: NWA
Genre: Rap
Year: 1988


1.  Straight Outta Compton
2.  Fuck tha Police
3. Gangsta Gangsta
4. If It Ain't Ruff
5. Parental Discretion Iz Advised
6. 8 Ball
7. Something Like That
8. Express Yourself
9. Compton's N the House
10. I Ain't tha 1
11. Dope Man
12. Quiet on tha Set
13. Something 2 Dance 2

In 1988 NWA recorded Straight Outta Compton and a new genre was born: gangsta rap. Suddenly hip hop moved away from simple obsessions like girls and started to focus on guns, violence and the gangsta lifestyle.

The most famous track on Compton is definitely Fuck tha Police which is about the police. NWA don't like them.

"Ice Cube will swarm
On any motherfucker in a blue uniform
Just cause I'm from the CPT, punk police are afraid of me, huh
A young nigga on a war path
And when I'm finished, it's gonna be a bloodbath
Of cops, dyin' in LA"

Suddenly rap wasn't about fun it was about declaring war on organized law enforcement.

NWA clearly hate the police. Whether their hatred is justified or not is a subject that commentators have written about for years. Are NWA empowering themselves from a point of racial disenfranchisement by playfully directing their anger at white dominated authority? Are they expressing the collected frustrations of a culture who have been oppressed for years and through music have been given a voice they have been otherwise denied? Or are they cynically using violence and anger to sell records? Or is it possible they're just an unpleasant collection of people with a recording contract?

Whatever your answer to the above questions you have to then address the band's attitude to women, a group they hold in only slightly higher esteem than organized law enforcement. NWA laid down the standard vernacular for rap's attitude to women. They were "bitches" and "ho's" who needed to be slapped down and have their ass "clowned". I don't know what an ass-clowning entails but I'm reasonably sure it doesn't involve the application of amusing makeup and a false nose. You can make whatever excuses you like for a "Fuck the Police" attitude but good luck trying to persuade me that constantly advocating violence to women is somehow justified.

I can't connect with this album at all. Call me white and middle class if you like and suggest that somehow my upbringing is keeping me from appreciating NWA but I just can't enjoy an album who constantly throws up images that repel me and advocates a lifestyle I think people should try and rise above rather than glorify.

This album created a genre we now call gangsta rap. If you think it deserves credit and praise for that achievement then no doubt you love it. If you think it deserves more blame than praise then you'll probably do what I do which is wish you never have to hear it ever again.

Highlight: There isn't one
Lowlight: Its existence as an extremely unpleasant blueprint

Influenced by: Lifestyle and money
Influenced: A really sad attitude

Favourite Amazon Customer Review Quote: "These five fakers exploited the pathology of ghetto culture that NONE of them really lived in, and brainwashed many impressionalbe young people (many whom I've mentored at my job) who had no one else in their homes or hoods to teach them any better,into thinking that gang life, violence, and disrespecting women were cool! Thanks, NWA, for making a bad situation worse while laughing all the way to the bank!"

-A fairly typical response. There are a lot of people venting anger at the fact that NWA weren't the struggling street-dwellers their lyric suggest.

So do you share the attitude or not? Let me know below.

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