Hip Hop Legends: NWA

RnB/Hip Hop | Thursday 12th November 2015 | Teresa

If there’s one name synonymous with the hip hop industry, it’s Niggaz Wit Attitude, better known as N.W.A.

Hailing from South Central LA, N.W.A put Compton on the map as the home of gangsta rap. The group was formed in 1986 by Arabian Prince, Dr. Dre, Eazy E, and Ice Cube, with Arabian Prince leaving shortly after, and MC Ren and DJ Yella joining the group.

N.W.A revolutionised the rap industry by refusing to censor their work for a wider audience. They stayed true to what they lived, saw, and felt, and translated that into explicit lyrics. The vulgarity of their songs got them banned on many radio stations, but this didn’t halt their success. They fused their experiences into their lyrics, talking about gang culture, drug wars, and police brutality. 'Fuck tha Police' off their first and most successful album Straight Outta Compton highlighted the insane racial injustices persisting in American culture.

Beyond politically charged statements, N.W.A held an important voice in the mainstream music industry, they represented a deeply villified part of American society. Their willingness to talk about gang culture and the life of youth growing up in an inner-city neighbourhood made them controversial in the eyes of the media.

Yet they represented an angst and put forth an energy that many people could relate to. But, most importantly, they threw down some wicked clever lyrics and dope beats. Although tension rose after Straight Outta Compton and the group eventually split up in 1991, they left a lasting impact on the hip-hop industry, and paved the way for artists like Tupac and Snoop Dogg in the 90s, as well as artists today like Schoolboy Q and Kendrick Lamar, who continue to rap about inner-city life and gang culture.