N.W.A. became the poster-boys for gangsta rap and caused controversy with their song “F*ck tha Police” when it was released in 1988 from the Straight Outta Compton album. Featuring themes of excessive force, violence against authority figures, and racial profiling, the song represented those who were willing to fight back and say exactly what they were thinking. The song also bought up issues regarding censorship – an issue that is still quite prevalent in today’s society.
The song caused attracted so much controversy that the FBI contacted N.W.A. and their record label Ruthless Records, informing the group of their disagreement with the messages behind “F*ck tha Police” and warning them to be careful in the future. Radio stations were not allowed to play the song due to its messages, however our very own Triple J radio station took a stand against censorship after being banned from playing the song, and responded by going on strike and playing another N.W.A. song, “Express Yourself” continuously for 24 hours, clocking up over 360 plays on the air.
Today, gangsta rap is harder to come by in the mainstream, yet the genre has heavily impacted what we hear today and how we respond to hip hop music. The term ‘f*ck the police’ has even become an immortalised motto, seen on t-shirts and different artworks, and featured in numerous songs in different genres.
During the 1990’s, hip hop saw diversification and separation into numerous genres and subgenres, such as alternative hip hop and hardcore rap, whilst also adapting into the mainstream and becoming a major seller by the end of the decade. From the 2000s onwards, hip hop and rap has become a major part of popular music and has been solidified in the market by artists such as Kanye West and OutKast. With the release of the movie Straight Outta Compton this year, the history of ‘one of the most dangerous groups’ has become one of the most talked about topics of 2015 and sheds much needed light on the development of hip hop and how it has influenced society.
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