It has been 20 years since N.W.A.
rocketed Straight Outta Compton
to worldwide acclaim and notoriety as rap music's most powerful force, redefining forever the trajectory of popular music. On December 26, Capitol/Priority released The Best Of N.W.A: The Strength Of Street Knowledge
, a commemorative career-spanning collection, in CD and deluxe edition CD/DVD packages. The CD includes 17 of N.W.A's most revolutionary tracks, while the deluxe edition CD/DVD contains more than two hours of N.W.A's best tracks, music videos and previously unreleased interview footage. Both packages include new liner notes by music writer and author Soren Baker. Leading the 20th anniversary charge, nine of N.W.A's hottest original masters made their ringtune debuts on December 12 with 35 different song clip options.
"You are about to witness the strength of street knowledge..."
In the course of little more than three years, N.W.A's Eazy-E
, Dr. Dre
, Ice Cube
, MC Ren
reached unprecedented gangsta superstardom with their no-holds-barred missives from Los Angeles' toughest streets. Defining the style that came to be known as "gangsta rap," N.W.A propelled rap into an expanded musical realm and topped the charts with their own challenging and illuminating style of rhymes unprecedented in their brutal reality over complex, funk-fueled tracks. "The World's Most Dangerous Group" spawned three of the most important figures in gangsta rap's evolution: the late rapper and entrepreneur Eazy-E, street lyricist extraordinaire Ice Cube, and mega-producer Dr. Dre.
N.W.A.'s first album, N.W.A and the Posse
, was released in 1987, but it is 1988's Straight Outta Compton
that has endured as the group's genre-defining double platinum masterpiece. From the propulsive groove of "Express Yourself" to the title track's battering statement of purpose, nothing had prepared listeners for this album's uncompromising power. Most notorious was "F--- Tha Police," which earned the group an ominous letter of warning from the FBI. "The listening experience," as Cheo Coker wrote in The Vibe History of Hip-Hop, "was akin to being wired into a sensory camera, where you could smell the room, sense the bullets whizzing by your head, and feel your adrenaline pump as the police raced you around the block." Along with Run-D.M.C.
's self-titled debut
album and Public Enemy
's It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back
, Straight Outta Compton stands as one of the pivotal recordings in hip-hop's history.
Following a split with Ice Cube in 1990, N.W.A continued as a foursome and reached even greater commercial heights. Efil4zaggin
, more relentless and more sonically-challenging than Compton
, would become the first hardcore hip-hop album to reach #1 on the Billboard Pop charts, forever altering the course of the music business. Rather than back down from the controversy their previous album had spawned, N.W.A returned with an album more explicit and intense.
Since N.W.A first blasted into the charts 20 years ago, the rap game has never been the same. The Best Of N.W.A: The Strength Of Street Knowledge
puts the listener in the witness chair to experience some of the most honest rap testimony ever put to tape.The Best Of N.W.A: The Strength Of Street Knowledge
1. Straight Outta Compton
2. Appetite For Destruction
3. Dope Man
4. F--- Tha Police
5. Real N----z
7. Express Yourself
8. Alwayz Into Somethin'
9. A B---- Iz A B----
10. Gangsta Gangsta
11. 100 Miles And Runnin'
13. Real N----z Don't Die
14. Compton's In The House (remix)
15. Approach To Danger
16. Chin Check
17. If It Ain't RuffThe Best Of N.W.A: The Strength Of Street Knowledge
(Deluxe Edition CD/DVD) DVD Tracklist:
1. Straight Outta Compton (street version)
2. Ice Cube interview - hypocrisy of censorship (Previously Unreleased)
3. Express Yourself (long/execution version)
4. Dr. Dre, DJ Yella & MC Ren interview - Compton and "gangsta rap" (Previously Unreleased)
5. 100 Miles And Runnin' (new street version)
6. DJ Yella interview - parental advisory stickering (Previously Unreleased)
7. Appetite For Destruction (extended street version)
8. Dr. Dre, Eazy-E, DJ Yella & MC Ren interview - sex, change of lifestyle
9. Alwayz Into Somethin' (street version)
10. Dr. Dre, Eazy-E, DJ Yella & MC Ren interview - 'Approach to Danger' and arguing in the studio (Previously Unreleased)
11. Ice Cube interview - role models, news as an influence, telling the truth and positivity (Previously Unreleased)