Thursday marked the 25th anniversary of N.W.A.’s notorious album “Straight Outta Compton,”arguably one of the most important albums in hip hop history. At the time of the album’s release back in 1988, the violent tone and controversial iconography the album elicited pushed the boundaries of what people had come to expect of rap. The album was filled with songs that challenged social norms aggressively and explicitly discussing issues of violence, censorship, anti-establishment, misogyny and sex.
N.W.A. introduced West Coast hip-hop and gansta rap putting LA and Compton on the rap map. The significance of this album cannot go understated.
The stories N.W.A. rapped about were austere and unsettling but spoke directly to the issues affecting the community the group called home. Eazy-E, Ice Cube, MC Ren, Dr. Dre and DJ Yella took rap to another level shining light on issues of marginalized communities and individuals who are essential parts to the make-up of America. And even a quarter of a century later, this album remains relevant and poignant to current headlines.