Mendelsohn: Hip-hop, Klinger, hip-hop. It’s back and now that we are out of the Great List’s Top 100 and moving further away from the canonical rock ‘n’ roll entries, I expect we will be seeing more and more hip-hop as the list progresses. This week we get to talk about the seminal hip-hop group N.W.A and their ground-breaking, gangsta-rap template-creating entry, Straight Outta Compton. N.W.A helped launch the careers of Dr. Dre (famed rapper, producer, and headphone maker), Ice Cube (famed rapper, star of several slightly profitable kid-oriented movies ,and commercial shill for a bland American light beer) and Eazy-E (famed rapper?); also there was MC Ren, Arabian Prince, and DJ Yella. Between them, they single-handedly put West Coast hip-hop on the map. Maybe more importantly, the stylized content dealing with graphic scenes of hood life, the trials and tribulations of gang activity and the socio-economic impact of living in such areas become the template for what A&R folks at many major record labels would look for and actively push upon the listening public as hip-hop started to gain more market share in the mid-1990s.
There are a myriad of different directions we could take this discussion, Klinger. But I want to know where you want to start. When you pop the cassette of this album into the deck of your drop-top, ‘64 Impala, what’s the first thing that comes to your mind?