The Grammys Finally Realize Straight Outta Compton Was a Great Album
Over the last two years—largely thanks to a 2015 blockbuster biopic, the mainstream media has apparently reconsidered the merits of N.W.A. The Ruthless Records collective of Eazy-E, Dr. Dre, Ice Cube, MC Ren, and DJ Yella released two albums, a compilation, and an EP between 1987 and 1991. In that time, the group was met with criticism from music journalists, a famous letter from the FBI, and a lot of backlash from politicians, social activists, and law enforcement.
This week, the Recording Academy has placed Straight Outta Compton by Niggaz Wit’ Attitudes into the 2017 Grammy Hall Of Fame induction class. The 1988 LP includes such hits as the title track, as well as “Fuck Tha Police” and “Gangsta, Gangsta.” Considered a pioneering Gangsta Rap album, the independently released LP would crack the Top 40. By 1989, the effort would be certified platinum, reaching triple in the 28 years since.
During its tenure, N.W.A. was never nominated for a Grammy Award. Notably, despite successful and acclaimed solo albums by Eazy-E and Ice Cube, neither would ever be nominated. Dr. Dre is the only N.W.A. member to receive a nomination or award for his own material. 1992’s “Let Me Ride,” from solo debut The Chronic, would earn D-R-E a Grammy in 1994 in the “Best Rap Performance” category. Outside of his work with other artists, Andre Young won two more Grammy’s. In 2001, his “Forgot About Dre” effort with Eminem and Hittman garnered “Best Rap Performance By Duo or Group” honors. One year later, the founder of Aftermath Entertainment received “Producer Of The Year (Non-Classical)” honors.
Although N.W.A. never received Grammy distinction, the group’s Ruthless label-mates, J.J. Fad were nominated for “Supersonic.” This February, upon receiving one of his five Grammy Awards for To Pimp A Butterfly, Kendrick Lamar shouted out Ice Cube who presented him with the trophy. He also cited other great artists and albums without the distinction, “This for Hip-Hop. This for Snoop Dogg [and] Doggystyle, this for Illmatic, this for Nas. We will live forever, believe that.” Two months later, Kendrick Lamar presented N.W.A. with their Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame induction.
“The Grammy Hall Of Fame represents all genres of music, acknowledging the diversity of musical expression for which The Academy has become renowned,” said Neil Portnow, President/CEO of The Recording Academy in a press statement. “Memorable and inspiring, these recordings are proudly added to our growing catalog and are an integral part of our musical, social and cultural history.”