August 18, 2015

How “Straight Outta Compton” Affected Us

jmanson

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First, allow me some time to explain how it was back then. Rap music was established but it was more an east coast owned title. I was in high school, a turntablist DJ with various affiliations in the hip hop comminity in Everett & Seattle. I moved to Grays Harbor when Straight Outta Compton was released but I would hitch hike back to Seattle every weekend because I missed my friends. People in Grays Harbor didnt like rap music and would call it “nigger music” and call me names because I listened to it and created it. I remember walking down the street fresh out of the city and have locals drive by and throw bottles at me because I was a b-boy. Even when i would skateboard down the street, locals would label me “wierdo john”. Now rap and skating is cool. Shows just how shallow people are yeah?

I was one of the first people in my circle to get the record and I remember me and Tonio Barnes (Shoonie Barnes’ brother) walking the hood stopping by from homie to homie and smoke them up and play the new NWA record. And when everyone would hear “Fuck you, you black mother fuckerrrrrr” the room would break out in hysterics. And they were all black. Its one thing to look from the outside viewing in. But when youre constantly hounded because you look a certain way or dress a certain way, its not fun. I am in no way comparing my trials and tribulations to those of my black brothers and sisters but I witnessed them. Alot.

NWA solidified west coast rap on the map. Sure, we had Ice-T, Too Short representing Oakland and MC Hammer who, at the time, was considered a good rapper before the whole dancey thing happened. Its not like it was a cursing thing. Luke Skyywalker was doing that in Miami but went the sex route. I had two Skyywalker Records jackets and some douchebag “borrowed” them and we know what happens when you loan something to someone. You never get it back. So they got shot in the face.

Anyway, that record represented an era and an area. Being youth with a voice, it said what many wanted to say but were never heard. During the movie, when they break in to “Fuck Tha Police” I started to tear up. I was there and remember how it made me feel. How it made all of us feel. I used to get jacked by police. Even police in Grays Harbor. I may even share some stories that others will remember. At parties sticking up for college ball players who were singled out because they were black. Not to say I was a model citizen but I remember more than most.

When Cube left the group, not many knew why. Some heard through the grapevine but that was speculation. Remember, they used to say E and Cube were brothers. And people believed it. So when Cube came out solo, we already knew he wrote all of the good shit in NWA “Ice Cube writes the rhymes that I say…” When the revised NWA started talking shit, game on and Cube destroyed them. We all knew it wasnt the same NWA without him but dammmmmm. When Dre left, it was like the nail in the coffin. Eazy still had his label and could buy anyone to write, but the spirit of NWA was gone. Then Dre came out with the Chronic and that record is probably the greatest rap record in history. Not only because of the features artists like Snoop and Dat Nigga Daz, but the composition was a masterpiece.

I remember all of us with studios would try to re create then sine high pitch sound Dre is so known for. Back then, computers werent all sophisticated and we were a bit limited. Even having two tr-808 drum machines like i did would garner me a small fortune nowadays. Shortly after that record, I promoted the first rap shows in Grays Harbor. Silver Shadow and the Lost & Found Crew, Blind Council, JM-Vox. Because of that, my own rap group was discovered an got a deal.Because of that, I went on to DJ for rap groups in Tacoma for Lynx Records even performing at the Tacoma Dome.

Straight Outta Compton showed the world what kids had to go through in South Central L.A. and ghettos nation wide. It also gave us youth a feeling that no other musician(s) could give us.

 

still writing this… Go see Straight Outta Compton. We lived it.