May 01, 2016

NWA "The Strength Of Street Knowledge" (The Source, 5/89)

"If there's one phrase that describe NWA's approach to music, it's "don't hold back." Anywhere you drop the needle on their new album "Straight Outta Compton" (Ruthless/Priority), clear, hard, and funky sounds blow you away. The MC's of the group confront issues head on, painting a very real picture of the violent urban setting of Compton, a part of Los Angeles known for gang activity. The members of NWA are the rebels of rap, overlooking the political rebellion of PE or the poetic rebellion of BDP for straight-up, gun-in-your-face rebellion.... The MC's of the group - Eazy E, MC Ren, and Ice Cube - are each talented lyricists with distinct styles. Eric "Eazy E" Wright mixes comedy with hardness, going to all lengths to brag of his sexual prowess. He is also the executive producer of all Ruthless releases, and a solo artist with a recent gold album of his own, "Eazy Does It" (Ruthless/Priority).  Ren is the most skillful rhymer, using quick reversals and complex rhymes to create a great style, especially on "If It Ain't Ruff". Ice Cube is the power source of the group, giving off incredible energy and street-wise knowledge, at its best in "Gangsta Gangsta" (the first single) and "I Ain't The One." Dre even gets into the MC side of things on a few of the cuts, and he's no joke! Ren, Ice Cube, and Eazy team up and kick it on the most striking cut, the searing, revolutionary "F#ck Tha Police." The hard-edged music, the rhymes, and the voices sound great, but it's difficult to digest the subject matter.... In fact, NWA is widely criticized for the excessive profanity and violence found on their records. All in an effort, the group claims, to "reflect reality." - The Source, 5/89. Continue reading for a lot more on one of the best groups in Hip-Hop history!