N.W.A and the rise of hip hop - Straight Outta Compton

Receiving raving reviews all over the world, one of the biggest movies of the year 'Straight Outta Compton' takes us back to where it all began and shows how hip-hop has developed over time to become the powerhouse genre it is today.

Founded by Eazy-E and compiled of Dr. Dre, Ice Cube, DJ Yella, The Arabian Prince, and the D.O.C., the group produced their first album N.W.A. and the Posse which went virtually unnoticed when first dropped in 1987. 

Sophomore album Straight Outta Compton was the hit N.W.A. was waiting for. The album tells the true story of how cultural rebels who came from almost nothing stood up to the authorities and formed the world’s most influential hip hop groups, N.W.A. They spoke the truth that no one had before and exposed life in the hood, their voices igniting a social revolution that is still echoing today.

The 1980’s saw not only the beginning of N.W.A., but the rise of ‘gangsta rap’, a subgenre of hip hop that became increasingly popular in the mainstream during this time. Artists were known for mixing the political and social commentary with criminal elements and crime stories, which resonated with audiences more than any other hip-hop genre had previously. 

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. 

The D.O.C will be coming to JMC Academy in November 2015 to present his first ever speaking tour! Buy your tickets now!

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