(courtesy photo)
(courtesy photo)

When West coast-based rap group N.W.A released “Straight Outta Compton” in 1988, the young men single-handedly introduced gangsta rap to mainstream America, and forever left their mark in hip-hop history.

N.W.A.’s debut release was filled with controversial lyrics focused on discrimination, gang violence and police brutality, with South Central, Los Angeles as the backdrop. The group, comprised of Dr. Dre, Ice Cube, Eazy E, DJ Yella, MC Ren, and Arabian Prince, rapped subtle but graphic recollections of their daily lives, the result of which had America in an uproar. Fast-forward to the 27th Anniversary of their debut those same civil injustices of police brutality and gang violence they openly crusaded about still existent in our communities today. It is safe to say that the lyrics that described the lives of these young men in the late 80’s- early 90’s still exist. On the brink of the their coming of age biopic “Straight Outta Compton” ( In theaters August 14th) which highlights the events that provided for such gut-filled lyrics for their debut we look back, line for line, on how the reflection of their views mirror today’s images.

On their controversial hit, “F*ck the Police”, N.W.A.’s Ice Cube rapped: “Fuck tha police coming straight from the underground, A young nigga got it bad cause I’m brown, and not the other color…So police think they have the authority to kill a minority”

The same sentiments that I have as a young black man in America today were what Ice Cube felt in 1988. Many black men can recite these lyrics and feel the same emotional rage Cube did. With the recent acknowledgment of the 1-year anniversary of Michael Brown’s tragic death, many, if not all, African Americans feel things have never changed.

That feeling rings especially true when unarmed Black men and women are continuously being murdered by police. The line “ They have the authority to kill a minority…” isn’t just a lyric in a random song when in ‘our’ reality it borderlines unwritten “law”. An unarmed black teen equates shots fired, ending in death, but a white mass murderer takes the lives of 9 African Americans in a act of domestic terrorism is taken into custody, given special treatment, and protection by the same “law” that doesn’t protect ‘our’ rights.

Straight Outta Compton’s style and delivery will always be influential in today’s marketplace for gangsta rap and hip-hop in general. N.W.A provided many artists with references on how to address inner-city life situations in their pen game, like Kendrick Lamar and The Game.