All the “muthaf—ers” who “act like they forgot about Dre” will soon have a strong reminder where the lyrical flow, confrontational approach and innovative production techniques of many contemporary hip-hop acts originated.
This fall, two seminal N.W.A albums, 1988’s Straight Outta Compton and 1991’s N—az4life, will be re-released with bonus tracks. In addition, look for The N.W.A Legacy 2, a 19-song collection that includes the final two N.W.A cuts, “Chin Check” from 1999’s “Next Friday” soundtrack, and “Hello” from Ice Cube’s 2000 release War and Peace Vol. 2 (The Peace Disc).
That compilation, which comes out August 27, will be composed of tracks that feature members of N.W.A and artists who have worked closely with the group. Highlights include the title track from Ice Cube’s first solo album, 1990’s Amerikkka’s Most Wanted; the title cut from Eazy-E’s first solo disc, 1988’s Eazy-Duz-It; Snoop Dogg’s “B Please,” featuring Xzibit, from 1999’s Top Dogg; and Snoop’s “Lay Low,” featuring Master P, Nate Dogg and Eastsidaz, from 2000’s Tha Last Meal.
The N.W.A Legacy 2 will be followed on September 24 by the N.W.A releases and Eazy-E’s Eazy-Duz-It.
Straight Outta Compton was one of the most influential rap albums ever, steering MCs away from smooth rhythms and boastful rhymes and into an aggressive zone ruled by drive-bys, drug deals and crooked cops. The disc featured the innovative production of Dr. Dre (Andre Young), and the combative wordplay of Ice Cube (O’Shea Jackson), Eazy-E (Eric Wright), MC Ren (Lorenzo Patterson) and DJ Yella (Antoine Carraby). The album’s centerpiece, “F— Tha Police,” invoked the ire of national politicians, the F.B.I. and law enforcement officials, and provoked a wave of angry protests across the country. The digitally remastered reissue features the bonus cuts “Express Yourself (Extended Mix),” “Bonus Beats,” “Straight Outta Compton (Extended Mix),” “A Bitch Iz a Bitch” and a live version of “Compton’s in the House.”
N—az4life, N.W.A’s third and final record, was created following three years of intense controversy and internal tension. Instead of going for the jugular with songs that communicated “the strength of street knowledge,” as they had with Straight Outta Compton, N.W.A assaulted listeners’ moral sensibilities with egregiously violent and misogynist lyrics that sometimes overshadowed Dre’s creative, inspiring beats. The re-release includes the 1990 EP 100 Miles & Runnin’.
Eazy-Duz-It, Eazy-E’s first solo album, featured guest performances by Ice Cube and DJ Yella. The promising album demonstrated Eazy’s knack for provocative lyrics, and paved the way for his work on Straight Outta Compton. The reissue is capped with the 1992 EP 5150 Home 4 Tha Sick.
As Eazy was working on his follow-up solo record he contracted AIDS. He died in early 1995, and Str8 Off Tha Streetz of Muthaph—in Compton was released later that year.