Wednesday, May 12, 2021

N.W.A. - Straight Outta Compton LP


Priority / Ruthless / UMe (2013, Reissue)

Every Wednesday, in honor of Ed Lover Dance Day from Yo MTV Raps, I take a break from rock and roll to write a little bit about hip hop. In the late 80s and early 90s hip hop ruled my musical life. During this often called 'Golden Era' I discovered so much incredible music. As I am slowly replacing the CDs I've had for twenty-five plus years with vinyl copies, I'm going to talk about some albums that had a really important impact on me during some very formative years.

I'm not entirely positive that the version I have is the 2013 reissue.  There have been others since that one came out, though the barcode and matrix etchings match.  Not that it really matters to me, but I know some folks care about those types of specifics.  It's my best guess anyway.

I really like Straight Outta Compton.  It's a classic at this point and in particular really shows just how incredible Ice Cube was when he first started out.  Every time he picks up the mic, it's magic.  Though, if I'm being honest, I'm actually more familiar with the N.W.A. follow up, Efil4zaggin.  That's the one I had when I was in high school.  I didn't pick up Straight Outta Compton until later and I didn't add the vinyl to my collection until pretty recently.

I'm pretty sure the first time I heard N.W.A. was the song "Express Yourself."  I had that one because a version of it was on a Yo! MTV Raps compilation CD I had (Along with a really long, excellent version of BDP's "My Philosophy").  But when the video for "Always Into Something" came out, that's what inspired me to finally buy an N.W.A. album.  Completely backwards to most people, I know, but I've always fallen into bands the wrong way.

Anyway, this record still sounds important and dangerous.  Like many hip hop albums from the late 80s and early 90s there are aspects that do not age well.  But as a time capsule of 1988, this was pretty darn innovative and influential.  Though some of that influence would later on end up what drove me away from hip hop (See: The Chronic & the ten million soundalikes it spawned).

N.W.A. - Straight Outta Compton (YouTube Music full album playlist):

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