August 08, 2021

N.W.A. "Straight Outta Compton" (Press Kit, 1988-1989)

The mere mention of Los Angeles, California conjures up images of sun, surf and sandy beaches -- but not to the five Compton homeboys who comprise rap crew N.W.A.: Eric "Eazy-E" Wright, M.C. Ren, Dr. Dre, Ice Cube, and D.J. Yella. N.W.A. hail from a part of town you won't find depicted in any postcards. "Straight Outta Compton," N.W.A.'s debut album, due for release in February, 1989, promises to put the tough South Central L.A. ghetto firmly on the musical/social map, and further reenforce the West Coast's contribution to a genre previously dominated by the East. "The problem with East Coast rappers is they think L.A. doesn't have any ghettos," Ren says. "They think it's all palm trees and beaches. Tell 'em to come to Compton. I'll show 'em somethin'." N.W.A. know from experience how mean the streets of inner-city L.A. can be. Ren, in fact, is lucky to still be alive. "A lot of people know you can get shot if you're not in a gang. I got shot in the leg 'cause I was in the wrong place at the wrong time. In Compton, you can get shot just goin' to work in the mornin'." Yes...

Eazy-E, reformed drug dealer turned hip-hop entrepreneur, adds, "I've seen killings, robberies, dope dealin' -- everything. I was standing next to a brother who got shot in the head. I've seen brothers get stabbed. I used to steal cars, break into houses, sell drugs and rob people... then my cousin got killed, and my homie Dre said, 'let's start a record company.' And I was like, 'yo man, this shit ain't gonna work.' Dre said, 'Go ahead and see.' Then we put out 'Boyz-N-The-Hood," ... and that shit took off! Dre keeps sayin', "I told you, I told you.' The label, Ruthless Records, is distributed by Priority Records. "Boyz," a hard-hitting account of life in Compton, was released as a 12" single in April 1986. About a year later, N.W.A. was officially formed, and the crew's 12" single and underground hit, "Dope Man" hit the streets in September 1987. Though N.W.A.'s self-produced debut album contains its share of party jams, N.W.A.'s forte is incisive social commentary. Songs like "Gangsta Gangsta," which has been released as a 12" single, "___ Tha Police" and a remix of "Dope Man," paint a brutally realistic picture of urban madness. "We're talking about the things we grew up around in Compton," Ice Cube asserts. "We focus on reality... the things that are going on in our neighborhood but don't get exposed. We tell it the way we see it, and we don't hold back. If people don't like it, f#ck 'em." Still not convinced that inner-city L.A. is as much of a jungle as Harlem or North Philly? "Straight Outta Compton" will annihilate that misconception. N.W.A. posses's in full effect, letting the world know what time it is and refusing to sugarcoat the truth. Word. - Press Kit, 1988. R.I.P. Eric Wright.