Jump to content
Afrii Diaspora Dialogue


N.W.A (an abbreviation for Niggaz Wit Attitudes) was an American hip-hop group whose members were among the earliest and most significant popularizers and controversial figures of the gangsta rap subgenre, and the group is widely considered one of the greatest and most influential groups in the history of hip hop music.

Active from 1987 to 1991, the rap group endured controversy owing to its music's explicit lyrics, which many viewed as being misogynistic, as well as to its glorification of drugs and crime. The group was subsequently banned from many mainstream American radio stations. In spite of this, the group has sold over 10 million units in the United States alone. Drawing on its members' own experiences of racism and excessive policing, the group made inherently political music. The group's members were known for their deep dislike of the police system, which has sparked much controversy over the years.

The original lineup, formed in early 1987, consisted of Arabian Prince, Dr. Dre, Eazy-E, and Ice Cube, with DJ Yella and MC Ren joining later that year. They released their first compilation album as a group in 1987 called N.W.A. and the Posse, which peaked at No. 39 on Billboard magazine's Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums chart. Arabian Prince left shortly after the release of N.W.A's debut studio album, Straight Outta Compton, in 1988, with Ice Cube following suit in December 1989. Eazy-E, Ice Cube, MC Ren and Dr. Dre later became platinum-selling solo artists in their own right in the 1990s. The group's debut album marked the beginning of the new gangsta rap era as the production and social commentary in their lyrics were revolutionary within the genre. N.W.A's second studio album, Niggaz4Life, was the first hardcore rap album to reach number one on the Billboard 200 sales charts.


Although the group disbanded in 1991, it remains one of the greatest and most influential hip-hop groups, leaving a lasting legacy on hip hop music in the following decades. Its influence, from the use of funky, bass-driven beats to its exaggerated lyrics, was evident throughout the 1990s and even into the present and is often credited as bridging the white/black American musical lines with its appeal to white Americans in the late 1980s.

In Dr. Dre's 1999 single "Forgot About Dre", Eminem pays homage to the group, rapping "So what do you say to somebody you hate / Or anyone tryna bring trouble your way? / Wanna resolve things in a bloodier way? / Just study a tape of N.W.A", possibly referring to the negative reception of N.W.A's works by mainstream radio, which considered the group's songs violent.

A scene in the music video for the 2005 single "Hate It or Love It" by The Game featuring 50 Cent shows Tequan Richmond and Zachary Williams (portraying a youthful Game & 50 Cent respectively) being caught spray-painting "N.W.A" on a wall, resulting in their subsequent arrest by two policemen. The Game also has a tattoo that says "N.W.A" on the right side of his chest.



Afrii-Diaspora Dialogue

A Platform for Dialogue for the African diaspora

A cultural and community website with a GO.A.L. to UpLift™, EmPower™ & UnIfy™ the many different peoples, histories, cultures and communities of the Afrikan Diaspora.

Main links

  • Create New...

Important Information

We have placed cookies on your device to help make this website better. You can adjust your cookie settings, otherwise we'll assume you're okay to continue. Guidelines, Privacy Policy, Terms of Use