Slacker Logo

N.W.A

ON AIR
Advertisement
Advertisement

Bio

N.W.A, the unapologetically violent and sexist pioneers of gangsta rap, are in many ways the most notorious group in the history of rap. Emerging in the late '80s, when Public Enemy had rewritten the rules of hardcore rap by proving that it could be intelligent, revolutionary, and socially aware, N.W.A capitalized on PE's sonic breakthroughs while ignoring their message. Instead, the five-piece crew celebrated the violence and hedonism of the criminal life, capturing it all in blunt, harsh language. Initially, the group's relentless attack appeared to be serious, vital commentary, and it even provoked the FBI to caution N.W.A's record company, but following Ice Cube's departure in late 1989, the group began to turn to self-parody. With his high-pitched whine, Eazy-E's urban nightmares now seemed like comic book fantasies, but ones that fulfilled the fantasies of the teenage white suburbanites who had become their core audience, and the group became more popular than ever. Nevertheless, clashing egos prevented the band from recording a third album, and they fell apart once producer Dr. Dre left for a solo career in 1992. Although N.W.A were no longer active, their influence -- from their funky, bass-driven beats to their exaggerated lyrics -- was evident throughout the '90s, while their story was told in the critically acclaimed 2015 film Straight Outta Compton. Ironically, in their original incarnation N.W.A were hardly revolutionary. Eazy-E (born Eric Wright), a former drug dealer who started Ruthless Records with money he earned by pushing, was attempting to start a rap empire by building a roster of successful rap artists. However, he wasn't having much success until Dr. Dre (born Andre Young) -- a member of the World Class Wreckin' Cru -- and Ice Cube (born O'Shea Jackson) began writing songs for Ruthless. Eazy tried to give one of the duo's songs, "Boyz-n-the Hood," to Ruthless signees HBO, and when the group refused, Eazy formed N.W.A -- an acronym for Niggaz With Attitude -- with Dre and Cube, adding World Class Wreckin' Cru member DJ Yella (born Antoine Carraby), the Arabian Prince, and the D.O.C. to the group. N.W.A's first album, N.W.A. and the Posse, was a party-oriented jam record that largely went ignored upon its 1987 release. In the following year, the group added MC Ren (born Lorenzo Patterson) and revamped its sound, bringing in many of the noisy, extreme sonic innovations of Public Enemy and adopting a self-consciously violent and dangerous lyrical stance. Late in 1988, N.W.A delivered Straight Outta Compton, a vicious hardcore record that became an underground hit with virtually no support from radio, the press, or MTV. N.W.A became notorious for their hardcore lyrics, especially those of "Fuck tha Police," which resulted in the FBI sending a warning letter to Ruthless and its parent company, Priority, suggesting that N.W.A should watch their step. Most of the group's political threat left with Cube when he departed in late 1989 amid many financial disagreements. A nasty feud between N.W.A and the departed rapper began that would culminate with Cube's "No Vaseline," an attack on the group's management released on his 1991 Death Certificate album. By the time the song was released, N.W.A, for all intents and purposes, were finished. In the two years between Cube's departure and the group's dissolution, N.W.A were dominated by Eazy's near-parodic lyrics and Dre's increasingly subtle and complex productions. The group quickly released an EP, 100 Miles and Runnin', in 1990 before following it up early the next year with Efil4zaggin ("Niggaz 4 Life" spelled backward). Efil4zaggin was teeming with dense, funky soundscapes and ridiculously violent and misogynist lyrics. Naturally, the lyrics provoked outrage from many critics and conservative watchdogs, but that only increased the group's predominately male, white suburban audience. Even though the group was at the peak of its popularity, Dre began to make efforts to leave the crew, due to conflicting egos and what he perceived as an unfair record deal. Dre left the group to form Death Row Records with Suge Knight and The D.O.C. in early 1992. According to legend, Knight threatened to kill N.W.A's manager Jerry Heller if he refused to let Dre out of his contract. Over the next few years, Dre and Eazy engaged in a highly publicized feud, which included both of the rappers attacking each other on their respective solo albums. Ren and Yella both released solo albums, which were largely ignored, and Eazy continued to record albums that turned him into a complete self-parody until his tragic death from AIDS in March 1995. Before he died, Dre and Cube both made amends with Eazy. With his first solo album, 1992's The Chronic, Dre established himself as the premier hip-hop producer of the mid-'90s, setting the pace for much of hardcore rap with its elastic bass and deep, rolling grooves. Gangsta rap established itself as the most popular form of hip-hop during the '90s -- in other words, N.W.A's amoralistic, hedonistic stance temporarily triumphed over the socially conscious hip-hop of Public Enemy, and it completely rewrote the rules of hip-hop for the '90s. A 2015 biopic, the critically acclaimed, Academy-Award-nominated Straight Outta Compton, made over $200 million worldwide at the box office and inspired Dr. Dre's third solo album, Compton, released that same year. With N.W.A.'s cultural resurgence and mainstream recognition of their legacy in the history of rap and hip-hop, the group received another honor with their induction into the Rock 'N Roll Hall of Fame in 2016. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine
Read All Read Less

Albums by
N.W.A

false

    16 songs

    On Air

    Straight Outta Compton [Bonus Tracks]

    13 songs

    On Air

    Straight Outta Compton

    11 songs

    On Air

    N.W.A and the Posse

    18 songs

    On Air

    Niggaz4life

    18 songs

    On Air

    N.W.A and Their Family Tree

    17 songs

    On Air

    The Best of N.W.A

    17 songs

    On Air

    The Best of N.W.A

    4 songs

    On Air

    Express Yourself [Maxi Single]

    5 songs

    On Air

    100 Miles and Runnin'

    18 songs

    On Air

    Straight Outta Compton [20th Anniversary Edition Clean]

    22 songs

    On Air

    Niggaz4life/100 Miles and Runnin'

    22 songs

    On Air

    Niggaz4life [Bonus Tracks]

    19 songs

    On Air

    The N.W.A Legacy, Vol. 2

    23 songs

    On Air

    The Best of N.W.A. [CD/DVD]

    19 songs

    On Air

    Greatest Hits

    21 songs

    On Air

    Greatest Hits [Bonus Track]

    13 songs

    On Air

    Straight Outta Compton [CD/Hat]

    10 songs

    On Air

    Straight Outta Compton [LP]

    18 songs

    On Air

    Straight Outta Compton [20th Anniversary Edition]

    26 songs

    On Air

    Niggaz4life [CD/DVD]

    12 songs

    On Air

    Straight Outta Compton

    9 songs

    On Air

    N.W.A and the Posse

    62 songs

    On Air

    Straight Outta Compton

    26 songs

    On Air

    The N.W.A Legacy, Vol. 1: 1988-1998

See All Albums

Top Songs by
N.W.A

  1.   Song
    Popularity
  2.   Straight Outta Compton
  3.   F**k tha Police
  4.   Express Yourself
  5.   100 Miles and Runnin'
  6.   Dopeman
  7.   Gangsta Gangsta
  8.   Alwayz into Somethin'
  9.   Lay Low featuring Butch Cassidy
  10.   8 Ball
  11.   Ghetto Fabulous featuring Dr. Dre
  12.   I Ain't Tha 1
  13.   She Swallowed It
  14.   Just Don't Bite It
  15.   If It Ain't Ruff
  16.   Niggaz 4 Life
  17.   Real Niggaz Don't Die
  18.   The Dayz of Wayback
  19.   Appetite for Destruction
  20.   L. A. Is the Place featuring Eazy-E
  21.   Compton's in the House
  22.   Parental Discretion Iz Advised
  23.   Findum, Fuckum & Flee
  24.   Real Niggaz
  25.   Something Like That
  26. See All Songs

Stations & Shows Featuring
N.W.A

    On Air

    N.W.A.: DNA

    On Air

    Dr. Dre: DNA

    On Air

    Old School Rap

    On Air

    Slacker 20: West Coast Hip Hop

    On Air

    Rick Ross: I Am The DJ

    On Air

    Classic Hip Hop A-Z

    On Air

    Gangsta Rap

    On Air

    SVP & Russillo Music Show

    On Air

    44 Most Controversial Songs

    On Air

    Chromeo: I Am The DJ

    On Air

    55 Best Ideas In Music History

    On Air

    66 Songs That Changed Everything

    On Air

    66 Songs That Changed The '80s

    On Air

    66 Pretty Much Perfect Songs

    On Air

    Backpack Rap

    On Air

    Nasty Hip Hop

    On Air

    Sean Kingston: I Am The DJ

    On Air

    2Pac: DNA

    On Air

    Classic Hip Hop Deep Dive

    On Air

    The Notorious B.I.G.: DNA

    On Air

    Masters Of Hip Hop

    On Air

    Kendrick Lamar: DNA

    On Air

    Intellectual Hip Hop

    On Air

    Underground Hip Hop

See All Stations & Shows

Artists Related to
N.W.A

On Air

Ice Cube

On Air

Dr. Dre

On Air

2Pac

On Air

Snoop Dogg

On Air

Eazy-E

On Air

The Notorious B.I.G.

On Air

Eminem

On Air

Bone Thugs-N-Harmony

On Air

Too $hort

On Air

Cypress Hill

On Air

Warren G

On Air

DMX

On Air

DJ Quik

On Air

Wu-Tang Clan

On Air

OutKast

On Air

Nas

On Air

Public Enemy

On Air

50 Cent

On Air

Method Man

On Air

Busta Rhymes

On Air

Nate Dogg

On Air

Ice-T

On Air

LL Cool J

On Air

Run DMC

See All Related Artists

Loading Sliders...
  1. + -

 
 
Advertisement

LIVE STREAM...

LIVE STREAM...
Casting to |