N.W.A: These Brothers Got Attitude!

A huge musical oversight is finally being corrected: N.W.A is going into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. This rap group was easily one of the most influential, talented and ground-breaking groups to disrupt the music scene during the mid-1980’s. Made up of some of the premier rappers of that time and basically of all time, N.W.A launched a new style of rap that would forever change the direction of this style of music. And for that reason alone, are deserved of the honor of Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee.

Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the last twenty years, most music lovers know that N.W.A (short for Niggaz Wit Attitudes) were the pioneers of a sub category of rap music lovingly referred to as Gangsta Rap. While artists like LL Cool J and Run-DMC were rapping about love and money and sometime the love of money, gansta rap was much more raw and realistic. The lyrics were based on ‘life in the hood’. This lifestyle included unjustified police brutality, the adoration of drugs and violence and bragging about how many women (affectionately referred to as bitches and ho’s in most songs) that a guy could sink his cock into to prove his manhood. After all, these guys lived in Compton, California; the roughest of the roughest. There wasn’t much else going on.

Needless to say, the straight-shooting lyrics and the raw bravado of the words were way too much for main stream music to handle. Remember, this era was dominated by glam-rock and hair bands of the 80’s. Hell, grunge hadn’t even reared its angst-ridden head yet! The worst thing the music-consuming public ever heard was some white guy singing about trying to get a piece of ass in the back of his daddy’s car! NWA changed all that! Their first album contained song titles such as ‘Gangsta Gangsta’ and ‘Fuck the Police’ and lyrics like ‘Fuck that shit, cause I ain’t the one, for a punk motherfucker with a badge and a gun’; most radio stations wouldn’t touch it. With the original lineup including such rap icons as Dr. Dre, Easy-E and Ice Cube, NWA quickly became the talk of the music industry. Despite the lack of main stream airplay, NWA still sold over three million copies of their debut album – ‘Straight Outta Compton’. So called ‘underground’ radio stations were regularly playing groups like NWA and creating a bigger and bigger following for the gangsta style of rap music.

NWA was not only responsible for the birth of gangsta rap, but they knowingly or unknowingly paved the way for some of the best rap artist to get their big break in the already ultra-competitive music industry. Guys like Notorious BIG, Snoop Dogg, 50 Cent, Eminem and Kurtis Blow took advantage of the door opened by NWA. Rap groups such as Cypress Hill, DMX and Public Enemy rose to prominence on the very coattails worn by the likes of Ice Cube and DJ Yella. I would dare say that without the rise of NWA, rap music would not be where it is today. Hell, even the Beastie Boys cite NWA as a primary influence on their music! And that, my friends, is why NWA deserves to be in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

Niggaz Wit Attitudes are indeed part of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame’s class of 2016. It’s about fuckin’ time man! I will point out that NWA was nominated for the Hall of Fame twice before. The first time was in October of 2012 and again the following year in October of 2013. This year, the voting committee finally came to their senses and voted them in. And why not? Shouldn’t one of the qualifications for induction be the impact that the group or individual had on their respective style of music (and possibly others)? Better yet, reward such innovation that pretty much invented a whole new sub-genre within an already popular style. Taking that style in new creative directions and doing something that no one has done before! NWA was to rap music as The Beatles were to rock music; a catalyst for change. A new type of creativity. NWA is in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Thanks be to Compton!


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