Wednesday, September 02, 2015

Retro Video of the Week: "Straight Outta Compton" by N.W.A.

Apologies for the lack of Tuesday Top Ten yesterday.  I was too busy with my weekly caber toss practice.

This past weekend, I finally saw Straight Outta Compton, the biopic about N.W.A.  I have been a fan of N.W.A. ever since I had the tape of Rap Masters 9: The Best of the Hardcore, which was an oxymoronic title, since it featured ten "hardcore" rap songs, all of which were edited and contained no swears.  Nonetheless, I was particularly drawn to N.W.A.'s "Gangsta Gangsta," which prompted me to buy their full album, Straight Outta Compton on tape.  Even as a white, middle-class suburbanite, I could appreciate the grittiness and truth in the songs.  Beyond the swearing (which, as a 13-year-old, I thoroughly enjoyed), the songs had a message and talked about a reality and perspective that had never really been talked about (or, at least, not so bluntly).  I can still recite pretty much every song on the album, word-for-word.  

Needless to say, I was excited when I heard a biopic was being made, especially since both Dre and Ice Cube were involved as producers.  I really liked it, even though it glossed over a few important details:  Eazy-E's debut album; the existence of Arabian Prince (who I don't remember being mentioned in the film); the group's second studio album, Niggaz4life -- or Efil4zaggin, as it was titled in the reprints of the Billboard charts that I would read in the Chicago Tribune "Friday Section" each week -- which hit #1 on the Billboard album charts; the rather public feud between Dre and Eazy-E in the early '90s (see, e.g., "Fuck Wit Dre Day" by Dr. Dre and "Real Muthaphuckkin G's" by Eazy-E); and Dr. Dre's issues with domestic violence (which weren't mentioned).  I also thought that MC Ren's contributions to the group were downplayed.  That said, I understand that you can't include everything in a film, and even without those details, it was almost two and a half hours long.  One thing was confirmed:  I never want to meet Suge Knight.

With that as the backdrop, this week's Retro Video of the Week will be "Straight Outta Compton."  A few weeks ago, I was at a wedding, and the DJ played this (for reasons that are unclear to me, since we were in a small town in Indiana), but I took the opportunity to rap all of the lyrics.  Cube, Ren, Eazy? I was all of them.  This resulted in a lot of confused and amazed looks from millennials, given that I had been dancing with my children a mere hour before I was explaining to no one in particular that I'd "shoot a motherfucker in a minute / or find a good piece of pussy / and go up in it."  Then again, I'm a crazy motherfucker from the streets, so what did they expect?

I'm including both the explicit and clean versions of the video because I find it hilarious that they made clean versions of any of their explicit songs.

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