Ok. Not so I'm not quite straight outta Compton. Shit, I can't even claim to be straight outta Coxwell. Nope. I'm straight outta the lily-white, yuppy-infested, politically-correct, pseudo-liberal Beaches.
But I have a secret. I love gangsta rap. Specifically, I have a huge warm spot in my heart for the west-coast 80's bad-ass Compton crew NWA.
You're shocked, right? Hm. Well, that might just be why I like it so much. I've been listening since NWA came on the scene, and admittedly at first it probably had a lot to do with the fact that it was rebellious to be blaring this profanity in my feminist, socialist, non-racist, non-sexist, non-ageist, non-religious home. Yes, I can admit that.
However, rebellious or not, the funky beats from the "Straight Outta Compton" album and the cool, self-assured voices, tinged with teen angst and South Central style, of Eazy-E (RIP), DJ Yella, Dr. Dre and Ice Cube quickly settled into my soul.
Pretty soon this white yuppy-raised sweetheart was a little less girly and a little more gangsta. And guess what? I never grew out of it.
In fact, I think I grew INTO it. With every passing year as I listened, I developed a little more, I had a new outlook on life.
Early on it was definitely defiance. "Yeah, fuck tha police!" I thought.
A little later it was sexual. "Well, what do you want me to do with it? It don't matter, just don't bite it. She swallowed it! It's the worlds biggest dick."
But before long, as I grew and studied and expanded my mind, my understanding of the sociological meaning behind the music grew too. "I'm expressing with my full capabilities, and now I'm living in correctional facilities. 'Cause some don't agree with how I do this. I get straight and meditate like a Buddhist."
And saw the hypocrisy of the industry, "Some professionals cuss at home, too scared to use profanity when upon the microphone. Yeah, they want reality, but you will hear none, they'd rather exaggerate a little fiction. Some say no to drugs and take a stand, but after the show they go lookin' for the Dopeman."
I still remember quite vividly when Eazy-E died of AIDS. I'd known other people to succumb to the disease, but this one hit me in a different way. This was someone who, for reasons I still don't fully understand, I related to. He was from my generation. Hell, he was in my CD player! "I'm Eazy-E the one they're talking about. Ni**a tried to roll the dice and just crapped out." Looks like Eazy's the one who crapped out this time, huh?
One of my earliest, and dare I say strongest, celebrity crushes was on Ice Cube. Other girls I knew bought Teen Beat and pasted pin-ups of River Phoenix and Johnny Depp on thier walls. I searched the hiphop mags for shots of Cube. I watched Rap City religiously just waiting and hoping that they'd play one of his videos, not something that they did very often, mind you, until his solo album hit the charts. I admit it's a crush that lives on today. There's just something about him. He's in my Top 5.
You know, I don't know how to explain my passion for NWA. But I do know that despite the early corruption, I still grew up to be a feminist, socialist, non-racist, non-sexist, non-ageist, non-religious woman. I can listen to the music with a rebellious badass slant, but I can listen with a critical, sociological, intellectual understanding too. Do I agree with every message? Hell no. The point is, I still listen. And I still love it.
Shocking? Maybe. But when I'm dressed for work, grey wool coat and little black heels. Metallic pink iPod tucked dicsreetly into my black leather bag. I can't help but smile to know that on the other end of those earphones, unbeknownst to the subway full of commuters, I've got a head full of the NWA crew.
Hey, what can I say? If it ain't ruff, it ain't me.