Hardcore Rappers Pay Tribute To N.W.A Gangsta Classic

Mack 10, WC and Bone Thugs-N-Harmony are among artists scheduled to honor debut album by rap innovators.

It's been 10 years since a five-man rap crew from Compton, Calif.,

best known as N.W.A (Niggaz With Attitude) set the East Coast-

dominated rap world on its ear with a gangsta-rap album entitled

Straight Outta Compton.

Now, some luminaries in the world of hip-hop are set to honor the

group this fall by covering every song on that pioneering gangsta-rap

album and then releasing the results as a 10th anniversary tribute

album.

This may be good news to former N.W.A members MC Ren and Ice

Cube. The gangsta-rap vets behind that influential slice of ghetto life

recently came together in the studio at sessions for MC Ren's

Ruthless For Life album and recorded

HREF="http://www.addict.com/music/MC_Ren/Comin'_After_You.ra

m">"Comin' After You" (RealAudio excerpt) -- a song that

finds the duo demanding respect because they've influenced so many

of the artists in their wake.

"We did it, but we didn't think everyone else was going to copy us

like that," MC Ren (a.k.a. Lorenzo Patterson) said earlier this month of

N.W.A's legacy. "Usually, motherfuckers copy stuff, and it lasts for a

year or two. This shit's still going on."

Tentatively scheduled for an Oct. 6 release by Priority Records,

N.W.A: Straight Outta Compton, 10th Anniversary Tribute will

feature such hardcore rappers as Silkk the Shocker, MC Eiht, Big

Punisher and Mack 10 rapping over the production work of Ant

Banks (MC Ren, Too $hort). According to Roberta Magrini, Priority

Records' director of publicity, only one song ("Something 2 Dance 2")

has yet to be paired with an artist.

None of the surviving members of N.W.A (Ice Cube, MC Ren, Dr. Dre

and DJ Yella) are scheduled to take part in the project, though many

artists who are closely connected with the members of the group will

be making appearances. Mack 10, who performs with Ice Cube in

Westside Connection, has contributed a cover of "Gangsta Gangsta"

and a version of "Dopeman" that appeared on last year's In Tha

Beginning ... There Was Rap anthology. WC, the third member of

Westside Connection, decided to take on "If It Ain't Ruff."

Bone Thugs-N-Harmony, who were signed to Ruthless Records by the

late Eazy-E (one of the five members of N.W.A), are also planning to

enhance the collection with their version of the scorching

HREF="http://www.addict.com/music/Bone_Thugs-N-

Harmony/Fuck_Tha_Police.ram">"Fuck Tha Police"

(RealAudio excerpt), which also appeared on In Tha Beginning ...

There Was Rap.

Straight Outta Compton was originally released in 1988, but it

made its mark on the rap scene when it received wide distribution in

1989. Its powerful and explicit descriptions of the "gangsta" lifestyle

in the ghetto were the first of their kind on a hip-hop record and

cleared the way to success for such artists as 2Pac, the Notorious

B.I.G. and Master P. At the same time, the album attracted the

attention of the FBI, who issued an official warning letter to N.W.A's

distributor condemning the controversial track "Fuck Tha Police."

By the time that N.W.A broke up in 1991, gangsta rap was a staple

on the charts and ex-member Ice Cube had moved on to a successful

solo career. After the break-up, Dr. Dre, Eazy-E and MC Ren also

embarked on solo ventures, with Dr. Dre launching the career of

Snoop Doggy Dogg and Eazy-E bringing Bone Thugs-N-Harmony to the

spotlight. Eazy-E died on March 26, 1995, of AIDS-related

pneumonia.

For MC Ren, the time is right for a tribute to the work he did with

N.W.A. Many of the tracks on Ruthless For Life, which hit store

shelves on June 30, take elements from Straight Outta Compton

-- soul music samples used as a background to tales of life in

Compton back when he helped to popularize gangsta rap.

"I think it influenced damn near 90 percent of what's out there now,"

MC Ren said of the crucial, first N.W.A album. "Niggas like me and

niggas that have been in it since the jump, that put it down, we've

gotta start pulling cards on everyone that's making this shit. It's

getting ridiculous."

The tentative track listing for N.W.A: Straight Outta Compton, 10th

Anniversary Tribute is: "Straight Outta Compton" (King T, MC

Eiht and Dre'sta); "Fuck Tha Police" (Bone Thugs-N-Harmony);

"Gangsta Gangsta" (Mack 10 and Skoop); "If It Ain't Ruff" (WC);

"Parental Discrection Iz Advized" (All From The I, the Comrads and

Boo Kapone); "8Ball" (Jayo Felony); "Something Like That" (J-Dubb

and Ant Banks); "Express Yourself" (Silkk the Shocker with C-

Murder); "Compton's N The House" (Coolio); "I Ain't Tha One" (Mr.

Mike); "Dopeman" (Mack 10); "Quiet On The Set" (Fat Joe, Big Punisher

and Cuban Link); and "Something 2 Dance 2" (To Be Announced).