Several months after the film saw its cinematic release in mid-August, the belated soundtrack to the smash hit musical biopic ‘Straight Outta Compton’ hits the shelves, and much like the film, the soundtrack provides a comprehensive walk through the history of one of the world’s greatest hip hop groups.
It’s probably worth saying now, there is not a bad song on this album. This is an album that not only functions as a ‘best of’ for N.W.A, but as a genuine look in to what led to the formation of the infamous group. From the opening statement that tells us ‘what we’re about to witness’ on the legendary first track Straight Outta Compton, to the final synths on album closer Nuthin’ But a “G” Thang from Dr Dre’s ‘The Chronic’, the album covers almost all the aspects of the group’s career. The music included also showcases the group’s influences, as prominent funk bands such as Funkadelic and Parliament were both included. Steve Arrington’s Weak at the Knees also made the cut, a song which was sampled by N.W.A. in their very own Gangsta Gangsta.
Aside from the massive N.W.A. hits that we’re all familiar with, we are also treated to a trio of tracks detailing Ice Cube’s departure from the group in late 1989. Kicking things off is The Nigga Ya Love To Hate from ‘AmeriKKKa’s most wanted’, which proved to be a breakout hit for Ice Cube, seemingly justifying his leave from N.W.A.. After this the group responded with the song Real Niggaz bringing to question Cube’s writing ability and hood credibility, all to a funky bass line. Finally, arguably winning the beef is Ice Cube’s notorious No Vaseline, which details exactly how much lubricant Jerry Heller will be using while he engages in anal sex with the members of N.W.A.. Tasteful.
One criticism of both film and soundtrack is the omission of arguably the biggest argument between former members, the beef between Dr Dre and Eazy-E. No material from Eazy’s last EP or album were included, which makes very little sense given how essential Eazy’s Dr Dre diss track Real Muthaphuckkin G’s is to N.W.A. lore. Not to mention Dr Dre’s track Dre Day that provoked Eazy’s response in the first place.
The soundtrack also boasts remastered versions of a number of N.W.A. classics, however these don’t go much past a slight tidy up of the original songs, with perhaps a few seconds of spoken introduction clipped out as in Real Niggaz and the controversial hit Fuck Tha Police . As far as sound quality is concerned, unless you are a diehard audiophile with an ear for lossless audio, the difference is unlikely to be noticeable.
While the album does an excellent job of summarising the forefathers of gangsta rap in their prime, it’s the lack of tracks detailing the eventual breakup to bitter end that makes this album feel slightly incomplete. Despite this, the soundtrack will provide an ample entry point for new fans of the rap group, who may want to journey through their discography after watching the motion picture. This soundtrack was always going to be a good album, however due to the lack of material from the groups later years, it’s certainly not as good as it could have been.
By Matt Austin