N.W.A. and Eazy-E
Reviewed by Christopher Coletti, Fri., Dec. 13, 2002
N.W.A.Straight Outta Compton (Capitol/Priority)
N.W.A.Niggaz4life: The Only Home Video DVD (Priority/Ruthless)
N.W.A.The N.W.A Legacy: The Video Collection DVD (Capitol/Priority)
In 1986, N.W.A., with virtually no radio or MTV play, surged straight outta Compton as the seminal West Coast gangsta rap gang. Telling a raw, firsthand narrative of life in the L.A. ghetto, the foul-mouthed MCs' new, aggressive tone set industry censors and police everywhere on their guard, shattering rap's "it's all good" mindset with a "fuck you" mentality. This "Gangsta Gangsta" message was compounded by the internal strife, true-to-art lifestyle, and financial/political pressure that eventually lead to breakups, make-ups, and Eazy-E's death from AIDS. More than a decade later, the N.W.A. legacy is celebrated with the re-release of Straight Outta Compton, Niggaz4life, and Eazy's Eazy-Duz-It, plus a collection of Compton-collaborated videos and a hand-held glimpse into the uncensored side of N.W.A., both on DVD. Fundamental albums of any West Coast rap collection, you should already own all three, but if you slept on 'em the first time around, here's your chance to get the trio with extended versions of "Express Yourself," "Straight Outta Compton," and previously released EPs, 100 Miles and Runnin' and the 5-track 5150 Home for the Sick. Sadly, these reissues, with new repackaging, offer no unheard or unreleased material for those who've been jammin' with these "Real Niggaz" since day one. There's even less to be said for the Niggaz4life DVD, a one-hour home video of behind-the-stage footage from videos, concerts, and "controversial" pool and lingerie parties, all of it spilling over misogyny and fuck yous. The N.W.A. Legacy lives on in a collection of 12 music videos that chronicles N.W.A. classics and solo and protégé projects from affiliates like West Side Connection, Snoop Dogg, Xzibit, and Mack 10. If you missed N.W.A.'s West Coast gangsta invasion, catch up. For those who've been down since day one, "Just don't bite it."