One of the biggest and most controversial acts in hip hop history, NWA popularised the genre of gangsta rap – accidentally or incidentally winning over millions of white suburban teenagers in the process, whilst simultaneously offending the greater part of ‘respectable’ America.

Formed in LA, 1986 by Arabian Prince, Dr. Dre, Eazy-E, and Ice Cube, the quartet would later be joined by MC Ren and DJ Yella. Unfailingly unapologetic, NWA celebrated drugs, sex, violence, the thug life and an utter contempt for authority. It started with 1988’s Straight Outta Compton – which quickly went double-platinum, this was followed up with just one more album, 1991’s Niggaz4Life.

In their short but volatile 5 year stint, NWA sold millions of units all over the world – despite causing enough trouble to warrant an FBI caution of their record company, and blanket bans on American commercial radio. In 1992, Dr. Dre struck out on his own – spelling the end of the NWA and setting a trend for many ex members to succeed in solo careers of their own. Their influence lives on today, you’d have to search far and wide to find a hip hop act that doesn’t directly or indirectly pay homage to NWA’s gloriously OTT bars and funked up rhythm.

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