“Straight Outta Compton” Lands N.W.A. On Top 40 Charts…27 Years Later
Both of N.W.A.’s two studio full-length albums carry platinum plaques. 1988’s Straight Outta Compton and 1991’s Ni**az4Life have this distinction, as does 1990 EP 100 Miles & Runnin’, while 1987’s N.W.A. & The Posse, and two separate greatest hits volumes are gold. With their sophomore LP boasting a #1 on the charts, Eazy-E, Dr. Dre, Ice Cube, MC Ren, and DJ Yella had no problem finding commercial success. However, the Ruthless Records artists achieved these distinctions without a charting single.
Twenty-seven years after “Straight Outta Compton” transitioned from some of America’s most dangerous streets to Main Street, its title single has reached the Billboard Top 100. The opening single on the album, as well as its first single released on July 10, 1988. However, following this month’s Straight Outta Compton film biopic, the James Brown, Parliament, and Wilson Pickett-sampling hit struck #38. In addition to N.W.A.’s first appearance on the Top 100, the belated recognition also lands the group their first Top 40 hit. This feat includes 1999’s “Chin Check” from Next Friday, billed as an N.W.A. track, making this a historic and seemingly unlikely surge for a Hip-Hop act, especially on an independent label.
Although Dr. Dre released Compton, an album closely associated with the film (and featuring Ice Cube), there is not an official film soundtrack. Eazy-E’s Ruthless Records, who released N.W.A.’s studio albums and subsequent compilations, is also no longer a label home to any of the group’s surviving members. Ruthless, now maintained by Eazy’s widow, Tomica Woods-Wright last secured a Billboard Top 100 single care of Bone Thugs-N-Harmony’s 1997 gold single, “If I Could Teach The World.”
Additionally, Eazy’s 1987 solo hit “Boyz N The Hood” reached #50. Produced by Dre and Yella, and written by Cube, the song would be a keystone precursor to N.W.A.’s chemistry, appearing on N.W.A. & The Posse, a remix on Eazy-E’s 1988 Eazy-Duz-It solo debut, and an alternate, updated lyric version on the 1989 “Dopeman” single release. Billboard does not specify which version charted. Eazy-E lasted charted 20 years ago, care of posthumously released single “Just Tah Let U Know,” which appeared on Str8 off tha Streetz of Muthaphukkin Compton.
Could this organic attention prompt more music from N.W.A., whether archival compilation material, or the 2010s era collaboration that evaded Compton?