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Music

The moment N.W.A changed the music world

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BACK: L–R: D.J. Yellr, Dr. Dre & M.C. Ren (Kings cap) and L–R: front––ICE CUBE (w/Raiders cap) and Ease E. (Seahawks cap) March 23, 1989 L. A. Times staff photo.
(Douglas R. Burrows / Los Angeles Times )

Eazy-E, Dr. Dre, Ice Cube, MC Ren and DJ Yella caused a seismic shift in hip-hop when they form N.W.A in 1986. With its hard-core image, bombastic sound and lyrics that were equal parts poetic, lascivious, conscious and downright in-your-face, N.W.A spoke the truth about life on the streets of Compton, then a hotbed of poverty, drugs, gangs and unemployment. In “Parental Discretion Is Advised: The Rise of N.W.A and the Dawn of Gangsta Rap” (Atria: 288 pp., $26), Times music reporter Gerrick D. Kennedy traces the origins of the group that birthed the first major disruption of hip-hop during the genre’s infancy. Ice Cube once said, “Everything in the world came after this group.”

In an exclusive excerpt, Kennedy details the brash arrival of N.W.A. 

Read the excerpt>>


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