Noisey caught up with N.W.A members Ice Cube and DJ Yella to explore the story behind their most notorious song, "Fuck Tha Police." This 15-minute mini-documentary also features the rise of political hip hop and gangsta rap in the midst of Compton's gang culture and Los Angeles's "War on Gangs" in the late '80s. You can watch it above, via YouTube.
In this video, DJ Yella says that their mistreatment by the police outside of a recording studio in Torrance, CA directly inspired making the record. It's interesting to note that in the 2004 VH1 documentary And Ya Don't Stop 30 Years Of Hip Hop, founding member Dr. Dre remembered that the track was recorded right after he and Eazy-E were violently apprehended for shooting paintballs at random citizens.
After the release of the track on N.W.A's 1988 debut album, Straight Outta Compton, "Fuck Tha Police" caught the attention of the FBI, who wrote a letter to the group's label expressing their distaste for the song's lyrics that glorify shooting police officers. The negative attention was responsible for N.W.A being blackballed from some venues, but it also made the group heroes for taking such a strong political stance that so many people could relate to.
Ex-gang members Charles Marsh and Fredrick "Baby Gangster" Staves, who were friends of the group, make an appearance in this Noisey mini-documentary video, and both praise "Fuck Tha Police," stating that the record expressed how Compton's inner-city youth felt at the time.
Giving a fair and balanced perspective, former police officers from the Compton Gang Unit, Tim Brennan and Robert Ladd, speak on the the city's very serious gang infestation that resulted in hundreds of murders, as well as their relationships with the community, and the record's effect on police officers across the country.
Ice Cube reflects on how "Fuck Tha Police" maintains its relevance 27 years later:
"Fuck the police" is something that everybody at some point wants to say. In every nook and cranny, every country, people have a problem with authority so the song is always going to have a place. A song people feel like is their anthem. As long as we got this problem, that song is gonna be relevant.
Take a listen below to "Fuck Tha Police" and also the songs mentioned by Cube that influenced their political direction.
For more music, news, and videos from N.W.A, visit their Zumic artist page.
Source: Noisey YouTube Channel