Wednesday, February 2, 2011

The song that started it all

N*gg*z With Attitude, which included Dr. Dre, Eazy-E, MC Ren, Yella, Arabian Prince and Ice Cube, ushered off the popularity of West Coast Hip-Hop. The name itself yells controversy and much of their music revolved around racism, the police, and violence. Although themes such as racism displayed by the LAPD had a purposeful political message, the violence portrayed by their lyrics caused many disruptions for the hip-hop community. The song “Straight Outta Compton” defined the lifestyle of many gangs around Compton, California and is also what these rappers aimed to depict in this particular song. Ice Cube holds nothing back by saying, “when I’m called off I got a sawed off, Squeeze the trigger and bodies are hauled off.” The most repeated violence symbol throughout West Coast Hip-Hop is undoubtedly the AK-47. Even Tupac had it tattooed across his stomach. Ice Cube continues his defiance of the law by saying, “AK-47 is the tool, don’t make me act a mutherphukin fool.” Throughout the music video they have the LAPD chase them throughout town but they do not actually show any violence, guns, or blood. Of course this is a music video meant for the general public but the profane lyrics obviously prove that they were not trying to be subtle about it. Rather, I believe that their main goal was to be actors or more importantly, represent the voice of a community. Compton at that time was characterized by its violence due to the prevalent number of gangs that included the Bloods, Crips, and Latin Kings. More recently Compton’s murder rate per capita was 5.82 times the national average. These members, to the best of our knowledge, were not murders even if they said they would, “shoot a mutherphuker in a minute.” At the same time, group members such as Eazy-E were not perfect citizens. He dropped out of high school to deal drugs before he became a full time artist. Nonetheless violence was a part of everyday life. Their depiction of street affairs was quite accurate in showing the world the violence behind these gangs and the common shootings that occurred. These rappers served as mediators to the national media and used explicit and harsh lyrics to get their point across.

1 comment:

  1. The "Compton attitude" expressed by NWA, while revolutionary, still was incredibly violent in nature. In his song "Bitches Ain't Shit," Dr. Dre talks about "chillin on the motherfu*kin Compton streets" and "being up in Mandy May's guts like everyday." In a particularly poignant verse, Dre talks about his release from jail and his intention to "chin check" his girl (urban dictionary "chin checkin," essentially it means to find out if your girl was cheating on you):
    "I'm back in the muthafuckin' county jail
    Six months on my chest, now it's time to bail
    I get's released on a hot sunny day
    My nigga D.O.C. and my homey Dr Dre
    Scooped in a coupe, Snoop we got the news
    Your girl was trickin' while you was draped in your county blues
    I ain't been out a second
    Now I already gotta do
    Some muthafuckin chin checkin
    Move up the block as we groove down the block
    See my girl's house, Dre, pass the glock
    Kick in the door, I look on the floor
    It's my little cousin Daz and he's fuckin' my hoe
    I uncocked my shit
    I'm heart-broke but I'm still locked
    Man, fuck that bitch!"

    The West Coast style of rap truly was revolutionary, and NWA did a lot of good for the Hip-Hop game. Regardless, we cannot overlook the pure violence expressed in Dre's rhymes, and Compton will always be viewed as a breeding ground for thugs and murderers in part due to thriving Hip-Hop/Rap community that constantly develops there.


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