Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Studying NWA

This whole semester we have challenged ourselves to come up with a definition and have come up with various clashing definitions as to what may or may not fit under that label. Now we have NWA's Straight Outta Compton to qualify.

I feel this album fits with this class. It is easily the most vulgar and grimy of all the works we've looked at. The Wire is realistic in its crudeness so I hardly find it offensive and I doubt reasonable people would find it so. Banned from the radio and venues, the NWA sound blazed from the streets causing many who do not understand the culture uneasy. The inclusion of this work is only qualified in the sense that it was a hot hot issue about twenty years ago.

If this class was just about what could be considered literature then I would be hesitant to include NWA. Well, maybe just not in the good literature category. Straight Outta Compton's importance stems from its place in hip hop history as an originator. Actually, I've always wondered why every music magazine that made a best albums list since so and so year always placed Straight Outta Compton so highly while hip hop focused magazines never acclaimed it as so.

NWA featured one of the most prominent rappers of the 90s (Ice Cube) and one of the best hip hop producers ever (Dr Dre) but it never seems to exceed exceptional. Ice Cube is easily the best lyricist and his delivery is leagues above anyone else in the group. Dre's work is before it develops until his fantastic G Funk style. If we were to study a truly phenomenal rap album like Illmatic, Ready to Die, Madvillainy, or Reasonable Doubt and numerous others, then I think I would have been more excited when I saw we would study several different works in different mediums at the beginning of the year. As it stands, I think Straight Outta Compton is a fine work to study in this course due to its nature and historical importance

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