I spent a day recently driving around some of my old haunts in Hollywood. I drove by an old house of mine where I used to have a bunch of parties. At one of those shindigs, I invited the guys from NWA up. I was completely into rap at that time...mesmerized by it, really. That being said, here is a period iPod list:
N.W.A. Anything off of Straight Outta Compton: Living in LA back in the late '80s, I couldn't help but be exposed to all of the Blood and Crip gang violence. NWA were storytellers and painted a pretty graphic and grim picture...the din of the urban streets finally had a hook.
Ice T, "6 in the Mornin'" (Power): I think this whole record is pretty stellar and definitely groundbreaking for its time. "6 in the Mornin'" takes the listener deep into the bowels of the sheer terror that must have been a reality for certain sorts in South Central LA.
Dr Dre, "Nuthin' But a 'G' Thang" (The Chronic): Dre was the one in my eye at least, that bridged the gap between old-school rap and modern hip-hop. He is a visionary dude who is just too damn cool!