EFIL4ZAGGIN: N.W.A Thursday 26 January, 2012

N.W.A’s second album was banned under The Obscene Publications Act. As an adult I can understand why.

I was thirteen years old when this album was released in the UK. The UK authorities were so outraged by the contents of this album that the applied and succeeded in having it banned. In order to carry out the ban the album had to have been on sale for a prescribed period of time before the ban could come in. In retrospect this seems somewhat ridiculous because we all made sure that we got our copies of the album during that prescribed period. I think it was my friend Paul who got his brother to go and buy it for us. You had to be over eighteen to buy it and we were both at school at the time.

I remember being so overjoyed to have a copy after the ban came into effect. Just imagine you were a thirteen year old and album you owned was banned for being obscene. If anything was guaranteed to make this album cool banning it would be it. Fortunately for me this album consists of some of the strongest hip hop production you could find. Who was responsible for producing this album  that was so obscene that the UK government banned it? That’s right. International pop star and friend of industry, Dr Dre produced it. How times have changed. How easily we can buy respectability. When this album came out Dr Dre was considered to be a pretty disgusting, despicable figure. Now he advertises laptops for Hewlett Packard. Money obviously does talk.

I’ve listened to this album many times since it was released. I adore the music on this album but now that I’m an adult I have to be honest that I find the lyrical content of it to be pretty vile. The misogyny is pretty horrifying. There are skits that have prostitutes being shot and thrown from moving cars because they want to be paid. There are songs called ‘Findum, Fuckum, and Flee’, ‘One Less Bitch’ and ‘She Swallowed It’. It’s pretty retarded to be honest. It’s not only misogyny either. The songs are all about petty, mindless, violence whether that’s sexual or gang. It sounds like teenage boys who have discovered rude things and are trying to outdo each other by saying increasingly depraved things. Unfortunately these guys were all adults. I wince every time I listen to this album now. I wish that I could by just the beats (by Dre) and get rid of the embarrassingly spastic lyrics.

I guess the fact that I grew up to realise that these sentiments are not good is a counter point to the reason for it’s ban. Especially when you consider just how much I listened to this album. At one point I knew a lot of this album word for word. Although the topics up for discussion are deeply unpleasant the skill of Eazy-E, MC Ren and Dr Dre as MCs should not be overlooked. There are some incredibly tight verses here and some moments of humour. Sick, twisted humour, perhaps, but humour nonetheless.

Let’s try and ignore the grotesque imagery on sale though and talk about the beats. There are some incredible moments of hip hop history here. There are quite a few (musically) spectacular tracks here. ‘Findum, Fuckum & Flee’, ‘Approach To Danger’, ‘The Dayz Of Wayback’, ‘Real Niggaz Don’t Die’ ‘Niggaz 4 Life’ and ‘Appetite For Destruction’ are all amazing slices of Dr Dre at his peak.

I can’t recommend that you go and listen to this album because I wince every time I listen to this album now. I wish that I could buy just the beats (by Dre) and get rid of the embarrassingly spastic lyrics. It’s a shame that such brilliant work is sullied by such terrible sentiments.

 

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