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N.W.A. and Their Legacy

N.W.A. is one of the most influential and controversial rap groups of all time. They were so brutally honest about their lives they were called The World’s Most Dangerous Group. They have changed the rap culture and exposed their daily life to the public and fans through their songs. They were a group that did not care how they were portrayed and just strived to be themselves throughout their lives. This rap group is important to the Oak Ridge students because they rapped about true issues in this world that are still relevant today. They have impacted on what Oak Ridge students listen to today. N.W.A is a rap group that consisted Eazy-E, Ice Cube, Dr. Dre, MC Ren, The D.O.C., DJ Yella, and Arabian Prince. Most were born in Compton, California and grew up there. They formed the group called Ni**as With Attitude in 1986(N.W.A Bio). This group talked about what they experienced while growing up in in Compton and did there own way of rapping in the industry to get recognized. They took on a more harsh style of rap that people noticed very quick. They are important because they have impacted the rap culture and raised awareness about police brutality and racism.

N.W.A is very relevant to history because they were a group that challenged what was said in song and on the radio. They are historically relevant because they spoke about what life with gang violence and police brutality which are still happening to this day. They definitely practiced freedom of speech through their songs by not cencoring anything that were rapped about. They formed the rap group over 20 years ago and we are still talking about them today. They have made an amazing movie about them and their messages are still relevant for today. We have learned that pop culture has always influenced society and that music is a big part of how artists can speak about the issues that they want to see fixed. Just like an activist, they use their skills to give information or awareness of a social issue. N.W.A has showed that they can talk about anything they need to change. They have been politically involved through their music from anti-censorship, police brutality, and the Los Angeles riots.

N.W.A made sure to tell their fans about the Los Angeles street life. They talked all about gang violence, to police brutality, to them having to survive which most artists would be too scared to talk about in their songs. In their first album called “Straight Outta Compton”, they released a song called “Fuck Tha Police” which was about how the police would accuse them of being drug dealers because of what they looked like. “A young n*gga got it bad ‘cause I’m brown” is a lyric by Ice Cube in the song(“Fuck Tha Police”). Ice Cube is explaining how racial profiling was happening to them from the cops. Cops would think that he was bad because of his skin color. This song outlined what the rap group would see in their neighborhood and they turned the song into a jury like scene while putting the cops on trial for the wrong doings on what they have done. The cops would put them in handcuffs and check them for drugs when they didn’t even have any them. This song was a very controversial to the Los Angeles Police Department. This song was produced to tell the public how the police brutality is real and very bad in their neighborhood. The song got a lot of attention from the police and the FBI, that they sent N.W.A a letter that seemed to be censorship-like to the rap group. After hearing what the letter had to say about their song, they didn’t stop playing the song. They instead kept on practicing their freedom of speech. There music has been used in forms of protest against racist police and brutality especially during the Rodney King trials.

N.W.A. has changed the music culture through their raw honesty in their political music. Kendrick Lamar who grew up in Compton talked about how Eazy-E influenced him by saying, “He’s 100 percent influenced me in terms of really being not only honest to myself, but honest about where I come from and being proud of where I come from”(Kendrick Lamar). This is an example of how N.W.A impacted the rap industry by Lamar saying this about Eazy. Kendrick also said, “I wouldn’t be here today if it wasn’t for Eazy and I wouldn’t be able to talk about the things that I say, talk about my community the way I talk about it, for good or bad”(Kendrick Lamar). These quotes by Kendrick Lamar give a great understanding on how N.W.A changed the rap culture because Lamar is a very political and relevant rapper today. He is now able to speak about society because of this rap group. In an interview with N.W.A’s MC Ren, Ice Cube, Dr. Dre, and DJ Yella, Ice Cube said, “We changed pop culture all over the world, we made it all right for artists to be themselves”(“Kendrick Lamar sits down with N.W.A”). Ice Cube explains how their rap group opened a new kind of music path. He talks about them being themselves through the whole rap game and being raw. Cube tells why and how they rapped about real stuff in the hood and how they were not different from off the microphone to on the microphone. This is another great example of how N.W.A set an example for other artists to be able to talk about anything they wanted talk about.

In conclusion, N.W.A has changed the music culture and raised awareness of hood life which comes with police brutality. A lot of the music that we listen to today has a message in it and has something to give the listeners. N.W.A were the pioneers of rap to perform in a different way. They put Compton on the map because of their fame and the things that they spoke about about Los Angeles. They left a legacy that will always be remembered as the group that told the harsh truth of their lives and the ones that did not care who liked it or didn’t like it. They wanted to just have there voices out there and talk about Compton, but they ended up getting huge in the rap industry everywhere. It is important that Oak Ridge recognizes the courage it took for this group to start a new way of rapping by telling the truth and sticking to their beliefs after a lot of criticism of the FBI, police, radio, Dr. C. Delores Tucker, and Al Gore. They are an example for us to realize that our voices really do matter in this society that we live in today and that we too can make change. People who receive a lot of hate tend to make big changes in the world and N.W.A definitely achieved that. This group did a great job getting their word out about LA, now most people know what goes down in Compton.   

Article by  Alonzo Rodriguez                            


Works Cited

“Fuck Tha Police.” Genuis.com, genius.com/13982045. Accessed 24 Apr. 2018.

Kendrick Lamar. youtube.com, complex news, www.youtube.com/watch?v=SnuYpZkv7V8. Accessed 24 Apr. 2018.

“Kendrick Lamar sits down with N.W.A.” youtube.com, www.youtube.com/watch?v=nJyss8iTWVw&index=3&list=FLO1TAISGwcAPNE0m36BuCZg. Accessed 24 Apr. 2018.

“N.W.A. Bio.” RollingStone.com, www.rollingstone.com/music/artists/n-w-a/biography. Accessed 24 Apr. 2018.

One Comment

  1. This essay was very well written. Alonzo did an amazing job in introducing the N.W.A and it’s impact on how the rapping industry has evolved today. The call to action that he ends with is for all of us to realize how our voices can be heard and used to change the world. I was moved by his obvious passion of this topic which can be seen in his refreshing, persuasive writing.