Parental Discretion Is Advised: The Rise of N.W.A and the Dawn of Gangsta Rap

Atria. Dec. 2017. 288p. notes. ISBN 9781501134913. $26; ebk. ISBN 9781501134937. MUSIC
Fans of the film Straight Outta Compton (2015) will love this book from LA Times music critic Kennedy. The author takes the reader on a nonstop, can't-put-it down ride from the early days of gangsta rap while focusing on the hip hop group N.W.A and the life and times of rapper Eric Lynn Wright, better known as Eazy-E (1964–95). Well researched and with a brace of new interviews, the lean prose sticks to the business at hand, befitting the group's dramatic story. Along the way there are insights into the artists' influences, writing processes, and the social and political context that drove them. Apart from a couple of brief reunions, N.W.A. experienced a relatively brief five-year run from 1986 to 1991. Their music has endured; Rolling Stone magazine proclaimed them one of the top 100 artists of all time, and they were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2016.
VERDICT Kennedy has delivered with this, his first book, a study of a groundbreaking group in a dramatic time and has held nothing back.
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