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
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"
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"
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
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
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).