Released on this day in 1988: N.W.A “Straight Outta Compton“.
Straight Outta Compton is the debut studio album by N.W.A, released August 8, 1988 on group member Eazy-E’s record label Ruthless Records. Production for the album was handled by Dr. Dre with DJ Yella giving co-production. The album has been viewed as the pioneering record of gangsta rap with its ever-present profanity and violent lyrics. It has been considered to be one of the greatest and most influential Hip Hop records by music writers and has had an enormous impact on the evolution of West Coast Hip Hop.
Straight Outta Compton redefined the direction of Hip Hop, which resulted in lyrics concerning the gangster lifestyle becoming the driving force in sales figures. It was later re-released on September 24, 2002, remastered and containing four bonus tracks. An extended version of the album was released on December 4, 2007, honoring the 20th anniversary of the original album.
In 2003, it was ranked number 144 in Rolling Stone magazine’s list of the 500 greatest albums of all time, the fourth highest ranking for a Hip Hop album on the list behind Public Enemy’s It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back, Run-DMC’s Raising Hell and The Notorious B.I.G’s Ready to Die.
The album reached triple platinum sales status, reaching platinum status with no airplay support and without any major tours.
As the Hip Hop community worldwide received the album with a high note, the members of N.W.A became the top stars for the emerging new era of gangsta rap. The album also helped to spawn many young MCs and gangsta Hip Hop groups from areas such as Compton, California, andSouth Central Los Angeles, as many thought they had the same story to tell and the ability to pursue the career track that N.W.A had taken, hence groups such as Compton’s Most Wanted coming into being.
Because of the recurring violent and sexual lyrics and profanity, often specifically directed at governmental organizations such as the LAPD, N.W.A always enjoyed a particular reputation with U.S. Senators and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), as noted in the LP’s published notes. This situation persisted over the years with the group’s visible head, Eazy-E. One of the reasons for this was “F*** Tha Police”, the highly controversial track from the album that resulted in the FBI and the U.S. Secret Service sending a letter to Ruthless Records informing the label of their displeasure with the song’s message, and N.W.A was banned from performing at several venues. The FBI letter only helped further popularize the album and N.W.A, and in the group’s 1990 song “100 Miles and Runnin’”, while the music video shows the crew running from the police, Dr. Dre raps “and now the FBI is all over my d***!” as a response to the FBI’s warnings. Also, in his 1990 song “Amerikkka’s Most Wanted”, Ice Cube mocks the FBI with the line “With a pay-off, cop gotta lay off, FBI on my d***, stay off”.
Six tracks from the album were released on N.W.A’s Greatest Hits: “Gangsta Gangsta”, “F*** tha Police”, “Straight Outta Compton” (extended mix), “If It Ain’t Ruff”, “I Ain’t tha 1″ and ” Express Yourself ” (Wiki)