This seminal rap album was released in 1988 on Ruthless Record, simultaneously ushering in an era of “gangsta rap” and the West Coast domination of hip-hop. Mostly produced by group members Dr. Dre and DJ Yella, with lyrics written by Ice Cube and MC Ren, this album hit the industry like shots from an uzi.
The album begins with the title track, featuring a relentless beat as the group ruthlessly rap about their hometown.
This insight into the violent, drug-filled, crime-ridden lifestyle of a young thug continued on songs like the controversial FUCK THA POLICE, GANGSTA GANGSTA, 8 BALL, and DOPEMAN, which are all powerful tracks.
The group gets a little less serious, and show off their rhyming skills on songs like PARENTAL DISCRETION IZ ADVISED (featuring an appearance by rapper The D.O.C.), SOMETHING LIKE THAT, COMPTON’S N THE HOUSE (REMIX)
Several rappers get their chance to shine on solo tracks, such as MC Ren on QUIET ON THA SET and IF IT AIN’T RUFF proving himself to be a highly skilled rapper, probably on par with Ice Cube, yet he always remained underrated.
Ice Cube gets his solo with I AIN’T THA 1, which is more than a little misogynistic but it’s also humorous. And Dr. Dre gets the uptempo EXPRESS YOURSELF.
The final track is the only one that doesn’t really fit on this album. SOMETHING 2 DANCE 2 is a dance track, performed with Arabian Prince who was an original member of the group (and appears on the cover) but dropped out before the rest of the album was finished).
A reissue of this album contained the bonus track a A BITCH IZ A BITCH
The production on this album is brilliant, showing the genius that Dr. Dre would later become known for. The lyrics are uncompromising, explicit, vulgar, disturbing, creative and, above all, compelling. This is one of the greatest rap albums ever. Chacebook rating: FIVE STARS