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    Straight Outta Compton 9 ( 1988 )
    Straight Outta Compton / Fuck tha Police / Gangsta Gangsta / If It Ain't Ruff / Parental Discretion Iz Advised / 8 Ball (Remix) / Something Like That / Compton's N the House (Remix) / Dopeman (Remix) / Quiet on Tha Set / Something 2 Dance 2

    Eazy E allegedly founded his own label, 'Ruthless Records' with illegal funds. Hooking up with Dr Dre, DJ Yella and Ice Cube, the core of N.W.A was formed. 'Straight Outta Compton' is their second album and created, shall we say, quite a stir. Ice Cube, whatever you think of him now, being rent a rapper celebrity on TV, was then a vital rapper. He wrote most of the words on this album, his own and all of Eazy E's, including the ones on Eazy E's first solo record. Dr Dre has become Dr Dre has doesn't need no introduction. 'Straight Outta Compton' is a vital Gansta Rap album. What does that mean to you? 'Fuck Tha Police' is absolutely essential, whatever Gansta Rap has later become. N.W.A had a message. They distrusted history, there's none of the politics of Public Enemy but the very message 'Fuck Tha Police' got N.W.A in trouble with various courts across the land. Inciting violence? Surely not. 'Straight Outta Compton' is a crossover album in more ways than one. Selling millions, it appealed beyond Rap's usual reach, thanks to the controversial of the day lyrical matter. The sound is a mix of old and new school, Dr Dre and DJ Yella creating sounds that variously sound still upto date now and then an old school style such as '8 Ball'. The old-school sounding cuts pale into comparison next to everything else here.

    The first three tracks here are all aggressive attacks. The lead track is a statement of intent, riding along on a drone with a bomb-squad style musical attack. 'Fuck Tha Police' sounds like one of the most dangerous and exhilarating rap tunes I can immediately think of, 'Gangsta Gangsta' wails along to police sirens and old school beats but overdelivers given those credentials. A little funk guitar riff repeats over and over again and the rap is addictive. 'Express Yourself' musically is 'Express Yourself'. Um, the soul classic by Charles Wright & the Watts 103rd Street Rhythm Band. You'll know it if you hear it. 'I Ain't The 1' predates the sound of Enimem albums, but thankfully, with Ice Cube rapping instead of Eminem. Oh, another classic? Parental 'Discretion Iz Advised'. Everyone raps, including MC Ren, whom i've just mentioned because I haven't mentioned him elsewhere. Well, Ice Cube is the best rapper here, believe it or not. 'Parental Discretion' contains the line I don't give a fuck about radio play, how times change! Dr Dre and Ice Cube are both now establishment and Dr Dre's productions get loads of radio play and are seen at the commercial end of the market. Rap music has changed a lot and 'Straight Outta Compton' won't be seen now as either cutting edge or even particularly dangerous. Yet, the danger that was there still translates into energy and the album is deliciously listenable.

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    top of page this page last updated 14/04/07

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