Straight Outta Compton (Soundtrack)
The Sound of a Generation Comes Back to Scare Your Parents (Again)
I have to confess to not ‘getting’ or liking Rap music; not even a little bit. Perhaps if I was a black teenager living in the Inner City Ghettoes of North America I just might be this angry; and indeed; this potty mouthed, but I’m not.
Therefore I passed this album over to some friends in the band The Agency; who at different times in their lives listened to this type of popular music with a more accommodating ear.
So; over to the chaps in The Agency –
As a band that blends indie rock with Americana music (among other things), we saw the opportunity to review the soundtrack to ‘Straight Outta Compton (OST)’ as an interesting challenge.
The eponymous opening track (Straight Outta Compton) by NWA, whom the film is about, still possesses a blistering energy after all these years. The songs’ liberational ‘call to arms, will be enough to excite Old-Skool listeners and intrigue younger fans drawn to the album because of the ‘mystique’ surrounding the bands involved.
The next track, ‘Flash Light’ by Parliament is undoubtedly a classic track, reminding our guitarist Steve of Sly and the Family Stone. He adds that ‘everyone’ likes Parliament, and our bassist Andy likes the thumping bass.
‘We Want Eazy’ by Eazy-E (a member of NWA) fared less well, leading to a rant from Andy about ‘what is real music’. Nevertheless he admitting to being hooked by the end.
Back to NWA and ‘Gangsta Gangsta,’ which Andy suggested may not possess the most positive message for the disenfranchised youth of the inner city areas; however, he concedes that it is great story telling with very good enunciation. Truly it is a good example of hip hop during its evolutionary stages. It is clear how the slightly rudimentary sampling techniques have inspired the generations of rappers that followed. Andy is particularly pleased with the laid back funk ending.
‘(Not Just) Knee Deep’ by Funkadelic was immediately greeted by Andy’s claiming ‘it is Funkadelic ain’t it? What more can you say – it’s perfect’. Steve agreed, drawing a comparison with Shalimar, but did affirm that NWA is more his ‘thing’.
One of the more Classic tracks included, ‘Boyz in-the Hood’ by Eazy-E, was greeted with some resignation, but Andy does appreciate the 808, yet Steve argued that the Beastie Boys copied and bettered the ‘sonic stylings’ on display.
The dancefloor classic ‘Everybody Loves the Sunshine’ by Roy Ayers Ubiquity was always a floor-filler nwhen Steve DJ’ in a Jazz/Soul/Funk club once upon a time. With chilled out beats, gorgeous piano and aptly positive vocals, Andy described it as ‘happy funky, bluesy, sunshiny, stuff that’s nearly a summer record but not quite’.
Three tracks by the protagonists NWA follow, the second of which is the notorious tune ‘F**k Tha Police’, which has had plenty said about it elsewhere over the years. The soundtrack would not be complete without it and you either love it or hate it already. Similar sentiments could be used to explain the importance of ‘Express Yourself’ to this collection.
Andy greeted ‘Weak at the Knees’ by Steve Arlington’s Hall of Fame with his instant approval; but Steve was less impressed; but Andy did concede that after the instrumentation at the beginning, it doesn’t really develop into anything.
Back to NWA for the next couple of tracks. Existing fans of NWA and the the hip hop genre in general are likely to have their attention held by ‘Quiet on the Set’ and ‘8 Ball’ but some of the others haven’t really stood the test of time. There’s a real sense of collegiate understanding throughout these songs; as the various band members reference each other in their lyrics.
Ice Cube is probably the most successful post-collective performer and his track ‘The N*** Ya Love to Hate’ will need little introduction to fans of the music. It is a ‘high energy protest song’…we think. A further Ice Cube track ‘No Vaseline’ is a welcome relief, following ‘Real N****’ by NWA. One thing is for sure, there is a very definite theme running through the works of NWA and their side projects!
The OST finishes with a track by the third member of the collective Dr Dre, with the infamous and cultish Snoop Doggy Dogg on ‘Nuthing but a “G” Thang’, which provides an apt ending and high point to a very strong collection; that has generally aged well.
To summarise, this is a nostalgic tour de force through the NWA back catalogue and their various influences. Fans of the music and style will need little enticement to explore this. There is something, however, for the curious and those with a fond but fretting memory of the musical genre and era.
1. N.W.A – STRAIGHT OUTTA COMPTON 04:17
2. PARLIAMENT – FLASH LIGHT 04:28
3. EAZY-E – WE WANT EAZY 05:00
4. N.W.A – GANGSTA GANGSTA 05:35
5. FUNKADELIC – (NOT JUST) KNEE DEEP 04:29
6. EAZY-E – THE BOYZ-N-THE HOOD 05:37
7. ROY AYERS UBIQUITY – EVERYBODY LOVES THE SUNSHINE 03:59
8. N.W.A – DOPEMAN 05:20
9. N.W.A – F*** THA POLICE 05:15
10. N.W.A – EXPRESS YOURSELF 04:23
11. STEVE ARRINGTON’S HALL OF FAME – WEAK AT THE KNEES 03:48
12. N.W.A – QUIET ON THA SET 03:57
13. N.W.A – 8 BALL 04:50
14. ICE CUBE – THE N**** YA LOVE TO HATE 03:13
15. N.W.A – REAL N***** 04:27
16. ICE CUBE – NO VASELINE 05:12
17. DR. DRE featuring SNOOP DOGG – NUTHIN’ BUT A “G” THANG 03:58
Released 8th January 2016
Dbl Vinyl – 22nd January 2016