If you were a teenage boy in the late 80s and early 90s, you knew one thing better than your name; Gangsta rap!
While there were many ‘followers’ at the time, the true pioneers of this brand of angry hip hop was NWA; which of course stood for ‘N&$%^@ With Attitude’.
And in less than 3 weeks, the movie based on their story, Straight Outta Compton, comes out.
Anyway, a few years back I waxed poetic (not killing cops and raping women gangsta poetic but) about my affinity for this music. Timely repost.
I can’t wait. I only hope it lives up to the Chris Rock parody CB4 made 20 years ago…
Can I Be Frank?: Guilty Pleasures: Gangsta Rap
(Originally Posted December 2012)
Allow me to introduce you to a few of my friends. Say hello to Dr. Dre, Ice Cube, MC Ren, Eazy E, Chuck D. Oh, and don’t let me forget all of the Ghetto Boys. OK, these guys are not my friends.
They represent some primary figures in the music genre known as ‘gangsta rap’. Most of these distinguished gentlemen made their way to fame in the late 80s and early 90s; the height of the gangsta rap craze. Those were some formative years for me as well; essentially my high school years. During this time these cursing crooners made a great impact on my life which resulted in a never ending affinity for their expletive-laced anti-love songs.
I would contend I am not alone.
I can at least speak for my circle of friends – which, by the way, primarily consists of chalky white men. We were all hooked on this violence-creating, women objecting, gun-promoting, drug-use-endorsing and downright filthy phenomenon. We bought the “records”. We watched the videos. And, worst of all, sang the songs. Start laughing ‘cause I am. There is nothing more pathetic or comical than a car full of pubescent, dorky, suburban white boys singing every word to ‘Straight Outta Compton’ (NOTE: F-Word used 21 times in this song alone!) as they cruise to the mall in their Mom’s Buick station wagon.
Oh we were just so dangerous.
If you have never had the listening pleasure of hearing some old school gangsta rap, let me give you a quick glimpse how it came to be. During that era, hip hop and standard rap music was just not good enough. In essence, a group of inner city California kids decided to take this music to a new level. The lyrics raved about the idea of killing police officers, defiling women, getting lost in drugs and basically unleashing total havoc on society. Frankly, they were geniuses for doing so. While the music was offensive to say the very least, they knew they had a market; 16 year old middle-class white boys who had never been near a gun, a drug, a jail cell, Compton, California or, in my case, a woman.
But this is not a lesson on the history of gangsta rap and its place in music history. As I combed through my You Tube playlist the other day I realized that many of these cult classics are occupying my ‘Favorites’ file (along with my Manilow, of course!). Apparently, these twisted tunes found their way deep into my subconscious because twenty years have passed and I can still bang out every single disgusting lyric to these mutha’ fuc….oops…sorry….lost in the moment.
Just a few of the classic cop-clubbing, pimp-slapping, arrest-warranting hits consuming my compilation…
Boys in the Hood
Mind Playing Tricks on Me
Gangsta of Love (no, not the dorky Steve Miller version…but that would be more fitting)
F#&% tha Police
How I Could Just Kill a Man
Nuttin’ but a G Thang
So now for the quiz?
What is more pathetic and comical than a car full of pubescent, dorky, suburban white boys singing gangsta rap?
Yes, you in the back?
Correct! Give our winner an autographed copy of MC Ren’s Kizz My Black Azz album (Yes, its a real record. That’s the actual title. And I owned a one).
The answer is a 38 year old white male, suburbanite, father of three belting out these bad boys while sitting at his desk in his V-neck Old Navy sweater and wrinkle-free Dockers. The truth is that the ONLY white men over the age of 35 that have ever looked cool rapping are The Beastie Boys (R.I.P. Adam “MCA” Yauch) and it should stay that way.
Funny as it may be, it remains a guilty pleasure and a fact. I have still never been near a gun, a jail cell, or a (serious ;)) drug. And the only woman around me now would justifiably punch me in the face if I ever even uttered any of this perverse pungent prose from my gangsta rap brothers.
I promise to continue to keep it real for my homies from hood….just in private from now on.