N.W.A. – Straight Outta Compton [1988]

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Outside of the very first rap album ever released, this is the most important album in the history of Hip-Hop music and culture. The effects of this monumental album live on not just in music, but in our everyday lives. There was a time when the overwhelming majority of Hip-Hop music was feel good party music, braggadocios rap, and storytelling. Enter Eazy-E, Ice Cube, Dr. Dre, MC Ren, and DJ Yella here. With their eyes set squarely on letting the world see the tough streets of Compton, they hit us with Straight Outta Compton. Everyone knew of the gritty gang infested streets, violence, and drug world, but no one was covering it. N.W.A. blew the lid off that world and allowed everyone in on how it went down on the west side and single-handedly put West Coast rap on the map. With songs like “Dopeman”, “Straight Outta Compton”, “Fuck the Police”, “Gangsta Gangsta”, and “Express Yourself”, the crew took over white suburbia, the government, and the music industry simultaneously with its Gangsta Rap.  The album was the first to reach platinum status with approximately 80% of that being bought in the suburbs. That is quite the feat when you consider that this was done with no commercial promotion and was banned from the radio. This is, still even today, the most gangsta album ever made and by far, some of the most classic material.

 Download: N.W.A. – “Straight Outta Compton”

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