Straight Outta Compton And Straight Into The Top 40

Other artists better take note because the definition is clear: you’re the witness of a killin
that’s takin place without a clue. Nearly three decades after dropping their fiery hometown proclamation of thug life, West Coast hip hop legends Niggaz Wit’ Attitude (or N.W.A.)’s 1988 song “Straight Outta Compton” is coming for the charts. For the first time ever, the rapper’s unflinching verses about thug life have cracked the Billboard Top 100. Breaking through the Top 40, they are perched at #38 on the charts and look poised to keep up the momentum. If Ice Cube’s infamous verse is any indicator, the track is ready to knock other musicians out tha box, “daily yo weekly, monthly and yearly until them dumb motherfuckers see clearly.”

The meteoric rise in the charts comes as no surprise given their resurgence in popularity following the N.W.A. biopic Straight Outta Compton that was released on August 14. The film has spent two weekends at the top of box office charts and grossed over $111 million across the U.S. No pop culture phenom is complete without a bit of controversy and the film has been weathering a storm of it with the Dee Barnes-led backlash over film’s decision to ignore Dr. Dre and Ice Cube’s bouts of violence against women.

The turnaround in their popularity from cult street gods to mainstream moneymakers mirrors their musical journey as a group throughout the past few decades. After starting their career in the early 80s, the group started as a collective of OG Compton natives Dr. Dre, Eazy-E, Ice Cube, and Arabian Prince before enlisting the musical talents of DJ Yella and MC Ren. Their unflinching portrayal of street life through raps about West Coast life, drugs, police brutality, crime, and sex provided the soundtrack for street culture. In the 90s, the group was banned from mainstream radio over their controversial lyrics and eventually broke up in 1991 amidst internal credit and money disputes. Despite this, N.W.A. have achieved legend status as a hip-hop rappers, gone on to sell over 10 million units in the United States alone, and been inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame—twice.

As the film continued to blaze bright in theaters, we expect the musical anthem to thug life to continue its dominance on the charts. The song isn’t the only N.W.A. music killin it on the charts, either. Album sales for the group have grown 234 percent to 47,000, while its song downloads soared 208 percent to 95,000. Sorry Wu Tang, it’s clearly N.W.A. that ain’t nuthing ta fuck wit.

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