Niggaz Wid Attitude (N.W.A.)is considered the originators of Gangsta Rap along with Public Enemy. The original members of NWA were Dr. Dre, Ice Cube, Eazy E, Arabian Prince, and DJ Yella. The group were definitely anti-police and they had legitimate reason coming from the Los Angeles area of Compton. The group seemed to celebrate the violence that was so much a part of life in Compton. Their lyrics embraced the violence and the thug lifestyle and tended to be very sexist.
They seem to read the youth right because their first album “Straight Outta Compton,” was a major underground hit. Because of the political commentary and violent lyrics, most of the major radio station would not play any of the songs. The press would not comment about the album and MTV, stayed far away. In fact, at one point the FBI warned NWA’s record label Ruthless Records to have NWA tone down the rhetoric.
The political threat seemed to disappear when Ice Cube left to pursue a solo career.
The group would eventually separate with Dr. Dre, leaving to create Death Row Records with Suge Knight, Ice Cube Eazy E, and Eazy E, Ren and Yella all pursuing solo careers. The only successful ones were Dr. Dre and Ice Cube. Eazy E would die from AIDS.
To get an idea of what it was like to be NWA, I would recommend watching the Biopic “Straight Outta Compton,” that was released in 2015.
Let us listen to NWA with “Express Yourself’” a sample of the group Charles Wright and the Watts 103rd Rhythm Band song of the same name.