February is a month of celebration in the pop culture community — between the Grammy and the Academy Awards, the best in the music and cinema fields will be recognized in the next month. However, between the awards buzz for those two big nights, we want to make not to overshadow February’s significance: Black History Month. So to follow the month’s trend of celebration, we plan to spend all of February going through the most important African-American pop culture personalities of the last 29 years. We continue today with 1988.
And with a year, Whitney Houston seems so far away. In 1988, the music game began to change, especially in African-American cultures, as hip-hop started to become something national. The cause was N.W.A., as their second album “Straight Outta Compton” changed the game so vastly that almost everything since can be traced back.
Like too often with true genius, the album has proven over time to be more critically acclaimed than publically. It took four years for the album to be certified platinum, and re-releases of the album, including one this last December, haven’t garnered much support. But this is an album that has been called one of the greatest ever by Rolling Stone and VH1, one of the ten best in the last 20 years by Spin, and the greatest in its genre by Chris Rock.
Lord knows that gangsta rap has as much critics as any other musical genre conceived in a long time. But, merely given the number of descendants their music has created, N.W.A. were pioneers in a genre that spoke to a pretty large sub-set of people.