Album Club Discussion #6: N.W.A.'s Straight Outta Compton

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ordinaryperson
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Album Club Discussion #6: N.W.A.'s Straight Outta Compton

Post by ordinaryperson » Sat Oct 27, 2018 12:49 am

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Straight Outta Compton by N.W.A.

AM Ranking: #109
Genre: Gangsta Rap
Release: 8 August 1988
Label(s): Ruthless & Priority
Ranked Songs: Straight Outta Compton (#365), Fuck tha Police (#369), Express Yourself (#1627), Gangsta Gangsta (#4502)

WikipediaRYM

01 | Straight Outta Compton
02 | Fuck tha Police
03 | Gangsta Gangsta
04 | If It Ain't Ruff
05 | Parental Discretion Iz Advised
06 | 8 Ball (Remix)
07 | Something Like That
08 | Express Yourself
09 | Compton's N the House (Remix)
10 | I Ain't tha 1
11 | Dopeman (Remix)
12 | Quiet On the Set
13 | Something 2 Dance 2



Music Videos:

Straight Outta Compton
Express Yourself
Any type of opinion can be expressed on these discussion threads, you can post just a few words or a couple of paragraphs, you can even rank the tracks if you wanted to. New discussions will be posted on Fridays, so that users will have the time over the weekend to listen to the album and form their opinion on it.

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Re: Album Club Discussion #6: N.W.A.'s Straight Outta Compton

Post by FrankLotion » Mon Oct 29, 2018 2:06 am

I’m going to try and avoid talking about the context this album was released in and its influence since I’m sure most people on this site already know about it. As for the music itself, I have some mixed feelings...I’ll start with what I like:

Dr. Dre’s production really is so awesome to listen to even today, he had a way of making beats that were surprising and textured but were also definitively his new signature West Coast sound. On top of that, the easy charisma and energy of the MC’s compliment the sound very well (especially Ice Cube’s more politically charged opening verses).

But I think the bad heavily outweighs the good here. When I first listened to NWA as a kid I thought they were infectious and cool but every subsequent year I get older I just cannot stand the truly awful lyrics. Even on the best tracks, the verses range from ugly and superficial to grossly misogynistic and xenophobic. I know this was especially typical of gangster rap but listening to most of the verses on this album is such a miserable experience these days. I feel like if I listened to a remixed version with the same production but different lyrics this would really be a classic like everyone says it is.

Grade: Very Overrated

Favorite Tracks: Straight Outta Compton, Fuck Tha Police, Express Yourself

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Re: Album Club Discussion #6: N.W.A.'s Straight Outta Compton

Post by Safetycat » Mon Oct 29, 2018 10:15 pm

I don't feel like I can comment on a lot of this album as a non-black, non-American and highly-privileged New Zealander. Fuck Tha Police is the only song that really feels relevant to my world, and that's mainly because of how applicable it is to the treatment of Maori and Pacific Islanders here (it even got a sample in the Sisters Underground track "In The Neighbourhood", a song that somehow made it onto AM).

Despite all of this, I really enjoyed listening to this album. The flows and music are all really solid and fun to listen to, and the various MCs are a lot easier on the ears than some other groups of the same time (looking at you, Flavor Flav...). In general, this is probably my favourite of any 80's hip hop album.

Rating: Unable to relate but able to enjoy/10

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Re: Album Club Discussion #6: N.W.A.'s Straight Outta Compton

Post by bootsy » Tue Oct 30, 2018 1:56 am

Safetycat wrote:I don't feel like I can comment on a lot of this album as a non-black, non-American and highly-privileged New Zealander. Fuck Tha Police is the only song that really feels relevant to my world, and that's mainly because of how applicable it is to the treatment of Maori and Pacific Islanders here (it even got a sample in the Sisters Underground track "In The Neighbourhood", a song that somehow made it onto AM).

Despite all of this, I really enjoyed listening to this album. The flows and music are all really solid and fun to listen to, and the various MCs are a lot easier on the ears than some other groups of the same time (looking at you, Flavor Flav...). In general, this is probably my favourite of any 80's hip hop album.

Rating: Unable to relate but able to enjoy/10
I think you can still comment on it even though it doesn't relate to you. Look a lot a hip hop fans are non-black. I can't relate to everything on this album and I'm a black American. I didn't grow up in Compton. I grew up in a suburban area and had the support of both of my parents. This album to me is more of a achievement for it's content, it was eye opening to Americans that many chose to ignore that things are fucked up in these neighborhoods ,and what kind of controversy the album created. Albums like this and movies like Boyz N Tha Hood and Menace II Society got everyone to look into this world in ways they didn't even know existed. I was never a huge fan of this album. I'm a little more of a fan of Niggaz4Life but that album doesn't have Ice Cube. He is a huge reason why Straight Outta Compton is as good and memorable as it was. It's still a landmark album because of the reasons I stated and more.

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Re: Album Club Discussion #6: N.W.A.'s Straight Outta Compton

Post by Chris K. » Tue Oct 30, 2018 5:06 am

I really don't get this album (but I wish I did!). On paper, I understand why it's important, but when I listen to it I end up getting bored. I guess that's true of a lot of 80's and early 90's hip hip. It doesn't engage me like Kendrick, Kanye, Vince Staples or countless other rap albums from the last decade and a half have. I also have a hard time getting past the violence and misogyny. I'm definitely not knocking those who are into it. After about a half a dozen listens, I still can't seem to connect to it though.

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Re: Album Club Discussion #6: N.W.A.'s Straight Outta Compton

Post by bootsy » Tue Oct 30, 2018 7:59 pm

Chris K. wrote:I really don't get this album (but I wish I did!). On paper, I understand why it's important, but when I listen to it I end up getting bored. I guess that's true of a lot of 80's and early 90's hip hip. It doesn't engage me like Kendrick, Kanye, Vince Staples or countless other rap albums from the last decade and a half have. I also have a hard time getting past the violence and misogyny. I'm definitely not knocking those who are into it. After about a half a dozen listens, I still can't seem to connect to it though.
Hopefully you mean 'I guess that's true FOR YOU' because 80s and 90s hip hop is not boring to most people who love the genre. It's considered the best of the genre and rightfully so. Kendrick, Kanye and Vince Staples?(oh boy) wouldn't be where they are without the 80s and 90s hip hop. Vince Staples will be lucky to have one album half as good or memorable as Straight Outta Compton and this is coming from someone who likes Vince.

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Re: Album Club Discussion #6: N.W.A.'s Straight Outta Compton

Post by Chris K. » Thu Nov 01, 2018 5:48 am

bootsy wrote:
Chris K. wrote:I really don't get this album (but I wish I did!). On paper, I understand why it's important, but when I listen to it I end up getting bored. I guess that's true of a lot of 80's and early 90's hip hip. It doesn't engage me like Kendrick, Kanye, Vince Staples or countless other rap albums from the last decade and a half have. I also have a hard time getting past the violence and misogyny. I'm definitely not knocking those who are into it. After about a half a dozen listens, I still can't seem to connect to it though.
Hopefully you mean 'I guess that's true FOR YOU' because 80s and 90s hip hop is not boring to most people who love the genre. It's considered the best of the genre and rightfully so. Kendrick, Kanye and Vince Staples?(oh boy) wouldn't be where they are without the 80s and 90s hip hop. Vince Staples will be lucky to have one album half as good or memorable as Straight Outta Compton and this is coming from someone who likes Vince.
I thought it was pretty clear I was talking about me. Obviously they laid the groundwork for those artists, I still prefer the artists they influenced. It's not like I don't enjoy any older rap. I like a lot of the singles from that era, the albums just drag on for me.

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Re: Album Club Discussion #6: N.W.A.'s Straight Outta Compton

Post by prosecutorgodot » Thu Nov 01, 2018 7:52 pm

Not really a hip-hop guy, so my opinion shouldn't be surprising. This album is really tepid. the large majority of tracks aren't very energetic. My fave tracks are "Straight Outta Compton" and "I Ain't the 1." This album started a whole genre that remains popular and relevant today, but that's about it.

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Re: Album Club Discussion #6: N.W.A.'s Straight Outta Compton

Post by StevieFan13 » Thu Nov 01, 2018 10:17 pm

Love this album. A real classic.
Music is a world within itself, with a language we all understand - Sir Duke (1976)

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Re: Album Club Discussion #6: N.W.A.'s Straight Outta Compton

Post by bootsy » Fri Nov 02, 2018 1:16 am

Chris K. wrote:
bootsy wrote:
Chris K. wrote:I really don't get this album (but I wish I did!). On paper, I understand why it's important, but when I listen to it I end up getting bored. I guess that's true of a lot of 80's and early 90's hip hip. It doesn't engage me like Kendrick, Kanye, Vince Staples or countless other rap albums from the last decade and a half have. I also have a hard time getting past the violence and misogyny. I'm definitely not knocking those who are into it. After about a half a dozen listens, I still can't seem to connect to it though.
Hopefully you mean 'I guess that's true FOR YOU' because 80s and 90s hip hop is not boring to most people who love the genre. It's considered the best of the genre and rightfully so. Kendrick, Kanye and Vince Staples?(oh boy) wouldn't be where they are without the 80s and 90s hip hop. Vince Staples will be lucky to have one album half as good or memorable as Straight Outta Compton and this is coming from someone who likes Vince.
I thought it was pretty clear I was talking about me. Obviously they laid the groundwork for those artists, I still prefer the artists they influenced. It's not like I don't enjoy any older rap. I like a lot of the singles from that era, the albums just drag on for me.
Not necessarily. It's not like you said 'I guess that's how I feel about a lot of 80s's and 90's hip hop( or hip hip)'. That would have been more clear. The way you worded that sounded like it could have been taken as speaking for others but NOW since you clarified yourself then fine because you definitely aren't speaking the majority of hip hop fans.

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Re: Album Club Discussion #6: N.W.A.'s Straight Outta Compton

Post by PlasticRam » Fri Nov 02, 2018 8:08 pm

Cube is the only one who can write.
I feel like that

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Re: Album Club Discussion #6: N.W.A.'s Straight Outta Compton

Post by Rob » Sun Nov 04, 2018 6:21 pm

Late to the party, again. I wanted to finally watch the Straight Outta Compton movie from 2015, before commenting, but because of it's length it took until yesterday to get around it.

It's interesting that a lot of the reviews here start with a comment about how the writer doesn't feel like he is the right person to review this. It's as if only African Americans or even African American gangsters are equipped to speak about it. Not a single other genre I know of inspires such an attitude except gangster rap. The thing is, I felt the same way.

I think the reason is that a lot of the content here still makes people feel uneasy. There is a lot of violence here, but that in itself isn't that unusual. You could find that in a lot of rock too. But whereas say AC/DC or The Rolling Stones used it more as a sort of music theatre you got the feeling here that the rappers were really violent themselves, might have already killed someone and also try to urge you follow suit. It is up for debate whether this is a fair way of interpreting the lyrics (and it differs with each gangster rapper), but the ghetto roots seemed to make things more authentic. I can enjoy AC/DC's Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap without ever seriously assuming that it is about real violence. Albums like Straight Outta Compton feel different.

And in a way, it was meant to feel different. Describe their world as they saw it. Something in me, as a pacifist born in a non-violent environment, would like to see a more ethical approach, a more critical look at the violence. It's not what we get here. I can't say how much of the lyrics here are to be taken straight or as mere braggadocio, but it all isn't nice. In that way the album is more like Anarchy in the UK, an album that was also way more violent than anything came before. Still, the Sex Pistols don't seem as dangerous to me now as N.W.A. still does. Well done?

Straight Outta Compton also resembles Never Mind the Bollocks in a completely other, less fortunate way: it's status seems more based on influence than on consistency. Both albums have a couple of really strong songs, but not a power that is maintained throughout, at least not to me. Not even my reluctance in embracing gangster rap could make me resist the stellar opening title track and certainly not Fuck Tha Police. That last one crosses a line for me, but at the same time I can see where they are coming from and it feels necessary. It is a wonderful song, sometimes surprisingly clever and it's real danger is part of it's appeal. I also think it Express Yourself is very good.

The remaining songs have their moments, but I rarely love them. Besides, I find this album tiresome from time to time. Dr. Dre is famous for his beats, but they get tedious to me. I have noticed that beats are something that never make me warm up to a song or album, even though it has been a leading element in pop music for some time now. Beats are rather a boring form of music to me and usually it is what happens between beats that is the meat. Still, the beats here seem repetitive from track to track, which makes the full hour this album takes something of a drag after a while.

And no, I do not relate to this personally. That was also the reason I never listened to it before this week. A bit odd when you think of it, because neither has the world of John Wesley Harding a lot to do with me. Yet there is something about the way gangster rap presents itself that doesn't seem inviting. Not even the biggest fan of it could honestly call it an inclusive genre. Maybe it doesn't need to be. But listening to it in the end is listening to any album: I can go along with it, as long as things don't stray to far into the morally repulsive (which tends to center around women a lot of the time).
6/10, though really how I do I rate something like this?

The movie was okay by the way, but not too insightful. Too much a summary of what happened, without ever creating momentum or a lived-in experience, despite the strong acting.

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Re: Album Club Discussion #6: N.W.A.'s Straight Outta Compton

Post by Jirin » Sun Nov 04, 2018 6:29 pm

I have very mixed feelings about the album. Musically I like it a lot, but I have trouble with the pro-violence lyrics.

It's not the amount of violence that bothers me so much as that they're bragging about being good at violence. They are unironically and uncritically saying that murdering policemen is a good thing, and being really good at doing so is a positive, manly characteristic. I don't like it when AC/DC does it either.

I don't think it's about real violence, even if some of the gangster rappers have done violent things in their histories, at the time they are successful rappers they have generally gone legit. It's fiction. I just don't like that kind of storytelling, I can't play GTA for the same reason, I just have no desire to even fictionally play a thug who murders random civilians with total abandon. A bad guy who kills other bad guys, maybe innocent people get hurt once in a while, sure. Killing for the sake of killing because being good at killing makes you awesome, hell no. I can't disconnect my empathy that easily even when the killer and victims are fictional. It's viscerally painful for me to watch slasher movies.

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Re: Album Club Discussion #6: N.W.A.'s Straight Outta Compton

Post by Safetycat » Mon Nov 05, 2018 12:55 am

So I've been listening to Quadrophenia for the next album discussion, and it made me think about both my previous post and bootsy's comment on it. Specifically, the fact that I felt unwilling to comment on this album and willing to comment on Quadrophenia despite not being able to relate to the content of either of them. So I want to fix that.

You could easily draw a comparison between this album and Quadrophenia, both being grounded in a rebellious subculture (Quad for mods, Compton for gangsters). But this album is a whole lot more relevant to the modern day than Quad.

Compton feels incredibly real, both because it's dealing with a lot more heavy issues, and because you can feel the lived experience in all of the lyrics of the album. I would say it suffers a little from a lack of focus, and songs like Fuck Tha Police end up feeling a little out of place due to how much better they are than the rest of the tunes, but overall it's a good listen. Perfect for background music at work on a day when I was feeling particularly fed up with my boss XD

I feel like I was supposed to come to a conclusion here, and my comparison kinda fizzled out, but I'm not a writer for a reason. I like this album.

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Re: Album Club Discussion #6: N.W.A.'s Straight Outta Compton

Post by bootsy » Mon Nov 05, 2018 3:44 am

Safetycat wrote:So I've been listening to Quadrophenia for the next album discussion, and it made me think about both my previous post and bootsy's comment on it. Specifically, the fact that I felt unwilling to comment on this album and willing to comment on Quadrophenia despite not being able to relate to the content of either of them. So I want to fix that.

You could easily draw a comparison between this album and Quadrophenia, both being grounded in a rebellious subculture (Quad for mods, Compton for gangsters). But this album is a whole lot more relevant to the modern day than Quad.

Compton feels incredibly real, both because it's dealing with a lot more heavy issues, and because you can feel the lived experience in all of the lyrics of the album. I would say it suffers a little from a lack of focus, and songs like Fuck Tha Police end up feeling a little out of place due to how much better they are than the rest of the tunes, but overall it's a good listen. Perfect for background music at work on a day when I was feeling particularly fed up with my boss XD

I feel like I was supposed to come to a conclusion here, and my comparison kinda fizzled out, but I'm not a writer for a reason. I like this album.
Good for you. :text-goodpost:

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