Gangster rap had been around before N.W.A. But when the Compton, California rap group and its visionary Eazy-E released its Straight Outta Compton and Eazy-Duz-It albums in 1988, the genre shifted, thanks in large part to N.W.A’s song “_ _ _ _ Tha Police.”
“That was a breakthrough,” Triple OG T. Rodgers, a crisis management consultant who helped squash the beef between The Game and Young Thug and who was a Bloods gang founder, says during an exclusive interview with HipHopDX. “That was a time of bucking the system. It was a time that turned the music industry on its ass. It was a time where the indy record labels were a spit away.”
T. Rodgers was in the Los Angeles area streets that Eazy-E, Ice Cube, Dr. Dre, MC Ren and DJ Yella discussed in their music. The Chicago native says that the group’s material helped lead to the popularization of the Los Angeles street lifestyle, which is being chronicled in the Straight Outta Compton biopic on the group, which is slated to arrive in theaters August 14.
“It spread across the word through, quote unquote, ‘Gangster Rap,’” he says. “The word ‘gangster’ is synonymous with ‘thug,’ which is synonymous with ‘nigga’ or ‘Negro.’”
N.W.A’s success and status as an independent rap group also changed the way rap was treated within the music industry.
“It was a time when we broke away and we started to go North to freedom because we could do this on our own,” T. Rodgers says. “Don’t give me no Newports and Puma sweats.
“That was a time when brothers had a supreme understanding of what they were supposed to do on the streets,” he adds. “There was a code, an unwritten code.”
One of the most significant parts of N.W.A’s success, T. Rodgers says, is that Ice Cube and Dr. Dre, who are among the producers of the film, have a hand in making the Straight Outta Compton movie.
“Those that were part of that are in a position to tell their story,” T. Rodgers says, “as opposed to someone else telling his story.”
For additional Ice Cube, Eazy-E and Dr. Dre coverage, watch the following DX Daily: