I felt weird last time because of starting with Ice Cube before talking about N.W.A. I’ll try to set this right by picking N.W.A.’s debut album for today, Straight Outta Compton, released in 1988, probably the real beginning of gangsta rap.
No gangsta rap analysis could be complete without taking a look former N.W.A.’s Ice Cube (and eventually N.W.A.). As far as I remember, his first album I knew was also his first album, so today we look at the provocatively titled AmeriKKKa’s Most Wanted, which was released in 1990.
Today we’re going to look at another “real” gangsta rap album, the eponymous and debut Cypress Hill by Cypress Hill, released in 1991. While they are now mostly known for their weed music, their first album was of a different caliber.
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The album I picked for today is different than the rest because it is not connected to all the notoriousness of other rap albums. The album is the eponymous Naughty by Nature by Naughty by Nature, released in 1991.
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After two obscure choices that were on my mind when cooking up the idea for this series, I want to come to something more ‘profound’, I want to say, although that might be the wrong word. My next pick is an album that also has a special place in my childhood gangsta rap heart and this is Ice-T’s second album Power, released in 1988.
Because I enjoyed my first re-listening to 90s hip-hop so much, I dove a bit more into it and realized two things: 1) I know a lot of albums from 1990 to 1992, but almost nothing from 1993, making a radical change in course for my music taste (and for the worse since it was time for Eurodance), which also means I listened to all of that rap music between the ages of 10 to 12. That amazes me and will continue to do so when I listen to more albums. 2) I know a lot of albums from that period. And this was the beginning of the 90s without the internet. I didn’t even have a lot of money, so I have no idea how I got all that music. I had a good friend with similar tastes but that doesn’t explain where all the music came from.
What many don’t know about me is my hip-hop past. When you are very young, you don’t listen to music consciously until at one point you hear something that grabs you. For me, that was hip-hop, or rap as it was mostly called back then. I must have been around 10 or 11 when I got introduced to that kind of music and something spoke to me about it. I mainly started with Public Enemy, one of the most political bands of the last century, so I like to believe that this aspect made it appealing to me. But I was very young, so who knows. Anyway, although my musical tastes changed several times over the years, I always fondly remember hip-hop music and come back to it from time to time. I then also like to believe that the genre has changed for the worse and that (as the cliché goes) everything was better in the past (which normally isn’t true). But then again, Kanye West’s My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy is one of my favourite albums of the last couple of years.
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