N.W.A “America’s Most Dangerous Group” By: Michael, Ryan, John, Brandon, and Megan
Progression of Rap in the 80’s From Party Rap To Gangsta Rap
NWA Group Members • DJ Yella • Dr. Dre • Ice Cube • Eazy-E • MC Ren
Emerged in the late 1980’s • Popularized gangsta rap with Straight Outta Compton(1989) album • Celebrated the violence and hedonism of the criminal life, with blunt harsh language
Ice Cube’s Departure in 1989 • Clashing egos prevented the recording of a third album • Dr. Dre left for solo career in 1992 • Funky, bass-driven beats to their exaggerated lyrics still influence rap today
The Situationists and the N.W.A • “If many people did what we wrote,” the Situationists wrote on last time, “it was because we wrote the negative we had lived, and that had been live by so many others before us” (Marcus, 354) • N.W.A sang about what they had experienced in their own lives just like the situationists wrote about what they had experienced.
“Situationist writing was a form of criticism, and it was a form of noise, directed with equal force against “all forms of social and political organization.” (Marcus, 355) • NWA – Fuck The Police “Fuck tha police Comin straight from the underground Young nigga got it bad cuz I'm brown And not the other color so police think They have the authority to kill a minority”
The Backlash • N.W.A received a formal letter from the FBI – cease and desist performing “Fuck Tha Police” live. • One of the first groups to receive Parental Advisory Sticker on their albums.
“Strait Outta Compton” Lyrics • Depicts violent environment of Compton. • Weapons are directly mentioned six times. • “gat,” “sawed off,” “AK-47 is the tool.” • Creates an identity for the rappers. • “Hardcore” personality traits are mentioned seven times. • “crazy motherfuckers,” “crazy as fuck,” “crazy ass nigga,” “I don’t give a fuck.”
Ways of Seeing NWA • Berger’s discussion of reproduction applies to music. • When music is mass produced, it changes the music’s message. • John Berger Quotes: • “Reproduction isolates a detail of a painting from the whole” (Berger 25). • “In the age of pictorial reproduction the meaning of paintings is no longer attached to them” (Berger 24). • “The uniqueness of every painting was once part of the uniqueness of the place where it resided” (Berger 19).
Conclusion • NWA popularized gangsta rap and made it mainstream • NWA rapped about the streets and way of life in the ghetto • Lipstick Traces shows us that NWA is an important part of the hidden history of culture. • NWA’s views can relate to situationist’s doctrine. • Ways Of Seeing offers up a different perspective on how to view NWA’s messages in their lyrics.