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Problem Reviews N.W.A’s ‘Straight Outta Compton’ – XXL Issue 150

Artist: N.W.A
Reviewer: Problem
Rating: XXL
Anniversary: 25-year

Editor’s Note: This story originally appeared in the September 2013 issue of XXL Magazine.

I was listening to it [as a kid], but I didn’t know what they were talking about. It was dangerous, and it showed another side of rebelliousness. Young dudes was just fed up with the way shit was going. No cliché shit was going on in that project, from the production to the words.

I didn’t realize how rebellious it was until I got older. That was just everyday shit in L.A.—finally, someone was talking about it. It didn’t seem that dangerous to us because that’s how it was. When you start to go to other places and see other things, you just notice, “Oh, shit. Shit was really fucked up.”

“Dope Man” was one of my favorites. It was so normal with what was going on. “Sold crack to my sister…” That shit was hard. “I’m putting in your culo a .38 slug.” That nigga was a fool for that shit.

The album changed music, not just Compton or anything, it changed music as a whole. It was so raw, so revolutionary. It spawned off other revolutionary albums, like Public Enemy, KRS-One. Everybody got real militant. They want to speak for the streets. This was the first, like, “Whoa, this shit will fuck you up.”

Straight Outta Compton was the first of its kind. That’s what makes it classic. People tried to recreate that moment, and they failed miserably. You can’t recreate something like that because it was so organic, but it was so real and raw. It came from a real place. It wasn’t forced.

That is the tree of the West Coast. They are the first generation of West Coast music.

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