N.W.A.’s Straight Outta Compton Album Heads To The Library Of Congress

Approaching its 30th anniversary of release, N.W.A.’s album Straight Outta Compton continues to be rather suddenly treated as a classic album in the mainstream. The 1988 Ruthless Records LP by Eazy-E, Dr. Dre, Ice Cube, MC Ren, and DJ Yella has always been a grassroots success. However, the album that once led to Eazy and Ruthless receiving letters from the FBI, performances that led to on-stage arrests, and music banned from some stores, is rapidly being celebrated with some of the highest honors.

It has been revealed that Straight Outta Compton is one of 25 recordings headed to the National Recording Registry in the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C. The Ruthless LP joins Richard Pryor’s Wanted: Live In Concert, The Wiz soundtrack, Talking Heads’ Remain In Light, and Wilson Pickett’s “In The Midnight Hour,” among others. In addition to decisions by committee, nominations are accepted in the yearly additions to the library.


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Online, N.W.A.’s surviving members have yet to react to the news. Since 2015’s Straight Outta Compton biopic, the group has been inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame, witnessed LPs and singles re-appear on the charts (and certified triple platinum), and recognized by the Grammys (despite the fact that only Dr. Dre carries an award).

Notably, S.O.C., which features appearances from founding N.W.A. member Arabian Prince and group protege The D.O.C. first appeared on the mainstream charts in 1989, months after release. The independent album rose to popularity through music video-supported singles such as the title track and “Express Yourself.” However, controversial album cuts like “Fuck Tha Police,” “Gangsta, Gangsta,” and “Dopeman (Remix)” also made the group legendary for its fearless depiction of profiling and brutality by law enforcement, drug addiction, and social epidemics within the city of Compton and Greater South Central Los Angeles.

Tragically for music fans, the group would not exist more than five years. Ice Cube would angrily exit following Straight Outta Compton. Dr. Dre would follow, after the release of 1991’s follow-up, Efilzaggin. Group leader Eazy-E died 22 years ago this week (March 26). At the time of his death, there were reported talks of a group reunion and beats laid down.

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Although the N.W.A. and the Possé compilation released in 1987 through Macola Records (where subsequent manager Jerry Heller was working), most people consider Straight Outta Compton N.W.A.’s studio debut. The album was reissued in 2002 and 2007, by Ruthless/Priority Records.

The full list of inductees in chronological order:

1.  The 1888 London cylinder recordings of Col. George Gouraud (1888)
2.  “Lift Every Voice and Sing” (singles), Manhattan Harmony Four (1923); Melba Moore and Friends (1990)
3.  “Puttin’ on the Ritz” (single), Harry Richman (1929)
4.  “Over the Rainbow” (single), Judy Garland (1939)
5.  “I’ll Fly Away” (single), The Chuck Wagon Gang  (1948)
6.  “Hound Dog” (single),  Big Mama Thornton (1953)
7.  Saxophone Colossus, Sonny Rollins  (1956)
8.  The Brooklyn Dodgers and the New York Giants at the Polo Grounds, announced by Vin Scully (September 8, 1957)
9.  Gunfighter Ballads and Trail Songs, Marty Robbins  (1959)
10. The Incredible Jazz Guitar of Wes Montgomery, Wes Montgomery (1960)
11. “People” (single), Barbra Streisand (1964)
12. “In the Midnight Hour” (single), Wilson Pickett  (1965)
13. “Amazing Grace” (single), Judy Collins  (1970)
14. “American Pie” (single), Don McLean  (1971)
15.  “All Things Considered,” first broadcast (May 3, 1971)
16. The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars, David Bowie (1972)
17. The Wiz, original cast album (1975)
18. Their Greatest Hits (1971–1975), Eagles  (1976)
19. Scott Joplin’s Treemonisha, Gunter Schuller, arr. (1976)
20. Wanted:  Live in Concert, Richard Pryor  (1978)
21. “We Are Family” (single), Sister Sledge (1979)
22. Remain in Light, Talking Heads (1980)
23. Straight Outta Compton, N.W.A (1988)
24. Rachmaninoff’s Vespers (All-Night Vigil), Robert Shaw Festival Singers (1990)
25. Signatures, Renée Fleming  (1997)