N.W.A Unisex T-Shirt
Finally, a way to show your respect for some of the greatest icons, legends and pioneers that paved the way past and present. Rock this gear in style and bring back the moments that made you, memories they gave you and/or lessons they taught you. Scroll down for a history lesson with some of our favorite clips.
Welcome to the Respect Due family the N.W.A! We salute you.
- 4.2 oz., 100% airlume combed and ringspun cotton, 32 singles
- retail fit
- unisex sizing
- shoulder taping
- More Videos
- Size Guide
- Additional information
- Reviews (0)
Documentary “N.W.A The World’s Most Dangerous Group”
N.W.A (an abbreviation for Niggaz Wit Attitudes) was an American hip hop group from Compton, California. They were among the earliest and most significant popularizers and controversial figures of the gangsta rap subgenre, and are widely considered one of the greatest and most influential groups in the history of hip hop music.
Active from 1987 to 1991, the rap group endured controversy owing to their music’s explicit lyrics which many viewed as being misogynist, as well as to its glorification of drugs and crime. The group was subsequently banned from many mainstream American radio stations. In spite of this, the group has sold over 10 million units in the United States alone. Drawing on their own experiences of racism and excessive policing, the group made inherently political music. They were known for their deep hatred of the police system, which has sparked much controversy over the years.
The original lineup, formed in early 1987, consisted of Arabian Prince, Dr. Dre, Eazy-E, and Ice Cube, with DJ Yella and MC Ren joining later that year. They released their first compilation album as a group in 1987 called N.W.A. and the Posse, which peaked at #39 on Billboard magazine’s Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums chart. Arabian Prince left shortly after the release of their debut studio album, Straight Outta Compton, in 1989, with Ice Cube following suit in December. Eazy-E, Ice Cube, MC Ren and Dr. Dre would later become platinum-selling solo artists in their own right in the 1990s. Their debut album marked the beginning of the new gangsta rap era as the production and social commentary in their lyrics were revolutionary within the genre. N.W.A’s second studio album, Niggaz4Life, was the first hardcore rap album to reach number one on the Billboard 200 sales charts.
Rolling Stone ranked N.W.A number 83 on their list of the “100 Greatest Artists of All Time”. In 2016, the group was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, following three previous nominations.
N.W.A. – Straight Outta Compton (Official Music Video)
Formation and “Panic Zone” (1987–88)
N.W.A was assembled by Compton-based Eazy-E, who co-founded Ruthless Records with Jerry Heller. Eazy-E sought an introduction to Steve Yano. Although initially rebuffed, Yano was impressed by Eazy-E’s persistence and arranged a meeting with Dr. Dre. Initially, N.W.A consisted of Eazy-E and Dr. Dre. Together with fellow producer Arabian Prince, Ice Cube was added to the roster after he had started out as a rapper for the group C.I.A. Dre would later bring DJ Yella on board as well. Dre and Yella were both formerly members of the World Class Wreckin’ Cru as DJs and producers. Ruthless released the single “Panic Zone” in 1987 with Macola Records, which was later included on the compilation album N.W.A. and the Posse. N.W.A was still in its developing stages, and is only credited on three of the eleven tracks, notably the uncharacteristic record “Panic Zone”, “8-Ball”, and “Dopeman”, which marked the first collaboration of Arabian Prince, DJ Yella, Dr. Dre, and Ice Cube. Mexican rapper Krazy-Dee co-wrote “Panic Zone”, which was originally called “Hispanic Zone”, but the title was later changed when Dr. Dre advised Krazy-Dee that the word “hispanic” would hinder sales. Also included was Eazy-E’s solo track “Boyz-n-the-Hood“.
Straight Outta Compton, Eazy-Duz-It (1988–89)
N.W.A released their debut studio album, Straight Outta Compton, in 1988. With its famous opening salvo of three tracks, the group reflected the rising anger of the urban youth. The opening song “Straight Outta Compton” introduced the group, “Fuck tha Police” protested police brutality and racial profiling, and “Gangsta Gangsta” painted the worldview of the inner-city youth. While the group was later credited with pioneering the burgeoning subgenre of gangsta rap, N.W.A referred to their music as “reality rap”. Twenty-seven years later, member and co-producer of the Straight Outta Compton film, Ice Cube, commented “they were talking about what really led into the style that we ended up doing, which is now called hardcore gangster rap.” Dr. Dre and DJ Yella, as HighPowered Productions, composed the beats for each song, with Dre making occasional rapping appearances. The D.O.C., Ice Cube, and MC Ren wrote most of the group’s lyrics, including “Fuck tha Police”, perhaps the group’s most notorious song, which brought them into conflict with various law enforcement agencies. Under pressure from Focus on the Family, Milt Ahlerich, an assistant director of the FBI sent a letter to Ruthless and its distributing company Priority Records, advising the rappers that “advocating violence and assault is wrong and we in the law enforcement community take exception to such action.” This letter can still be seen at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland, Ohio. Policemen refused to provide security for the group’s concerts, hurting their plans to tour. Nonetheless, the FBI’s letter only served to draw more publicity to the group.
Straight Outta Compton was also one of the first albums to adhere to the new Parental Advisory label scheme, then still in its early stages: the label at the time consisted of “WARNING: Moderate impact coarse language and/or themes” only. However, the taboo nature of N.W.A’s music was the most important factor of its mass appeal. Media coverage compensated for N.W.A’s lack of airplay and their album eventually went double platinum. One month after Straight Outta Compton, Eazy-E’s solo debut Eazy-Duz-It was released. The album was dominated by Eazy’s persona (MC Ren was the only guest rapper) but behind the scenes it was a group effort. Music was handled by Dr. Dre and DJ Yella; the lyrics were largely written by MC Ren, with contributions from Ice Cube and The D.O.C. The album was another double platinum success for Ruthless (in addition to girl group J.J. Fad in 1988 and singer Michel’le in 1989). 1989 saw the re-issue of N.W.A and the Posse and Straight Outta Compton on CD, and the release of The D.O.C.’s No One Can Do It Better. His album was essentially a collaboration with Dr. Dre and notably free of “gangsta rap” content, including the N.W.A posse cut “The Grand Finalé”. It would become another #1 album for the record label.
100 Miles And Runnin’ and Niggaz4Life (1989–91)
Ice Cube left the group in December 1989 over royalty disputes; having written almost half of the lyrics on Straight Outta Compton himself, he felt he was not getting a fair share of the profits. A lawsuit brought by Ice Cube against band manager Jerry Heller was settled out of court. He wasted little time putting together his solo debut, 1990’s AmeriKKKa’s Most Wanted, but he avoided mentioning his former label mates. N.W.A’s title track from their 1990 EP 100 Miles and Runnin’, however, included a diss of Ice Cube: “We started with five, but yo / One couldn’t take it—So now it’s four / Cuz the fifth couldn’t make it.” The video for the song depicted the remaining members of N.W.A together in a jail cell, while an Ice Cube look-alike is released. Also heard on the EP (which found its way on the Efil4zaggin album) was “Real Niggaz”, a full-blown diss on Ice Cube where the remaining members accuse him of cowardice, and question his authenticity, longevity and originality: “How the fuck you think a rapper lasts / With your ass sayin’ shit that was said in the past / Yo, be original, your shit is sloppy / Get off the dick, you motherfuckin’ carbon-copy”, and “We started out with too much cargo / So I’m glad we got rid of Benedict Arnold, yo.” The song “100 Miles and Runnin'” was Dr. Dre’s final uptempo recording, which had been a common feature of late 1980s hip hop. After this, he focused on a midtempo, synthesizer based sound which would become known as G-funk, starting with “Alwayz Into Somethin’” from Efil4zaggin in 1991. The G-funk style dominated both the West and East Coast hip hop music scene for several years to come. N.W.A is referenced on Ice Cube’s 1990 EP, Kill at Will, where he name-checks his former group (likely in a mocking manner) on the song “Jackin’ For Beats”. On “I Gotta Say What Up!!!”, Ice Cube gives shout-outs to his rap peers at the time, among them Public Enemy, Geto Boys, and Sir Jinx. At the end of the track, in what appears to be an on-the-phone interview, Ice Cube is asked, “Since you went solo, what’s up with the rest of the crew?” and the phone is abruptly hung up on the interviewer.
The group’s second full-length release, 1991’s Efil4zaggin (“Niggaz4Life” spelled backwards), re-established the band in the face of Ice Cube’s continued solo success. The album is considered by many Dr. Dre‘s finest production work, and it heralded the beginning of the G-Funk era. It also showed a clear animosity towards their former member, and derogatory references to Ice Cube are found in several songs. The interlude “A Message to B.A.” echoes the beginning of his song “Turn Off the Radio” from AmeriKKKa’s Most Wanted: Ice Cube is first addressed by the name Benedict Arnold (after the infamous traitor of the American Revolution) but then named outright in a torrent of abuse from both the group and its fans: “When we see yo’ ass, we gon’ cut yo’ hair off and fuck you with a broomstick” spoken by MC Ren. The N.W.A–Ice Cube feud eventually escalated, both on record and in real life. AmeriKKKa’s Most Wanted had avoided direct attacks on N.W.A, but on Death Certificate, Ice Cube’s second full-length release, he retaliated. He sampled and mocked the “Message to B.A.” skit before embarking on a full-blown tirade, the infamous “No Vaseline“. In a series of verses, Ice Cube verbally assaulted the group: “You lookin’ like straight bozos / I saw it comin’ that’s why I went solo / Kept on stompin’ / When y’all Muthafuckas moved Straight outta Compton / You got jealous when I got my own company / But I’m a man, and ain’t nobody humpin’ me.” He also responded to members MC Ren, Dr. Dre, and Eazy-E individually to “100 Miles and Runnin’“, claiming “I started off with too much cargo / Dropped four niggaz and now I’m makin’ all the dough”, using homophobic metaphors to describe their unequal business relationship with Jerry Heller, who became the target of harsh insults: “Get rid of that devil real simple / Put a bullet in his temple / Cuz you can’t be the ‘Niggaz 4 Life’ crew / With a white Jew tellin’ you what to do.” The song attracted controversy for its antisemitism (the beginning of such accusations against Ice Cube during his affiliation with the Nation of Islam), based on the bashing of Heller’s religion. The track was omitted from the UK release, and later pressings included a censored version of the song. In September 1990, members of hip hop act Above the Law clashed with Ice Cube and his posse Da Lench Mob during the annual New Music Seminar conference, forcing the latter to flee the premises of Times Square‘s Marriott Marquis, the venue of the event. On January 27, 1991, Dr. Dre assaulted Dee Barnes, host of the hip hop show Pump It Up, after its coverage of the N.W.A/Ice Cube beef. According to Rolling Stone reporter Alan Light:
He picked her up and “began slamming her face and the right side of her body repeatedly against a wall near the stairway” as his bodyguard held off the crowd. After Dre tried to throw her down the stairs and failed, he began kicking her in the ribs and hands. She escaped and ran into the women’s rest room. Dre followed her and “grabbed her from behind by the hair and proceeded to punch her in the back of the head.”
In response, Dre commented: “People talk all this shit, but you know, if somebody fucks with me, I’m gonna fuck with them. I just did it, you know. Ain’t nothing you can do now by talking about it. Besides, it ain’t no big thing—I just threw her through a door.”
N.W.A – Boys In the Hood
N.W.A – Fuk Da Police
N.W.A – Express Yourself (Official Video)
N.W.A – Boys In the Hood
UNISEX FIT & SIZE CHART