Why Aren’t They In The Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame: NWA/Dr. Dre

[Note:  NWA has been inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 2016.]

The recent success of the docudrama “Straight Outta Compton” [1] has demonstrated that twenty years after the rap group NWA. (which stands for N***s With Attitude, certainly truth in advertising) broke up, that people still feel an interest in the group and in its vocalists. Not coincidentally, Dr. Dre released the album Compton to tie in with the film’s release and it sold almost 300,000 units the first week, putting it on pace for a potential gold record in an age where that is very rare. Yet NWA. is not in the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame as a group, nor is Dr. Dre as a performer or a producer, either of which would be fair. Instead, the success of the film and of its companion album (if not soundtrack) reminds us that if the group has achieved a great deal of popular success, and critical acclaim, that they still do not have the same level of respect as Run D.M.C. and the Beastie Boys do by being part of the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. I suspect their wait will not be a long one, but for the moment at least, NWA is on the outside looking in as far as rock & roll credibility is concerned. It would probably not be difficult to imagine the reply of the group to this state of affairs, even if it would not be printable in a family-oriented collection of writing like this one, but in light of the continued interest in the group, it is worthwhile to examine the worth of the group and their influence, as well as the influence of Dr. Dre as a performer and producer on his own, so as do demonstrate the worthiness of the group for entering the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame.

The Influence of NWA/Dr. Dre

Anytime a biopic can earn more than $50 million on a weekend, the same time that an album with no hit singles can drop for almost 300,000 sales in a week, twenty years after the group disbanded, that indicates some major relevance, just from numbers alone. There is no question that as the legacy of artists like Tupac Shakur, Snoop Dogg, and Eminem continues to grow and be discussed, that the legacy of NWA, which was formative on those efforts, and of Dr. Dre in particular, can only grow as well. The influence of NWA rests strongly in its music, in the rapping and production skills of its former members, and also in its attitude, the way in which it lived out its name and built a reputation for violence and aggression that still remains relevant today. Not all influence is good, but no one can deny that the attitude of NWA was one of the elements that has made it attractive to so many even to this day. We will therefore first discuss the matter of attitude and culture, and also the work of the group as a whole, as well as Dr. Dre as a solo artist/producer. The fact that the group has been nominated at least twice (2012 and 2013) suggests that they will eventually be inducted, especially after the additional attention the movie brings them. As the forerunners of gangsta rap, a great deal of responsibility for the development of that particular subgenre of rap lies on them, and if that is not influence, it is hard to imagine what would count as influence. Similarly, the production of Dr. Dre, and the way that he helped foster the growth of emcees like Eminemn, Snoop Dog, and Tupac Shakur, is clearly influential in the way that it helped form a certain sound that remains viable even today. Rappers to this day, after all, like The Game, have tattooed themselves with NWA [2]

Why NWA and Dr. Dre deserve to be in the Hall Of Fame

Throughout its career, NWA had one multi-platinum album, three platinum albums (one was an EP), and two more gold albums. Despite only one top 40 on the R&B charts, it had 4 top 2 hits (including 1 #1) on the rap charts. Yet although songs like “Appetite For Destruction,” “Always Into Somethin’” and “Gangsta Gangsta” remain important, it is the band’s album tracks, like “F*** The Police” and “Boyz-n-the-Hood” that have been best remembered. Anytime a band can be remembered for its album songs that were never released as singles, that signifies a deeper sort of influence and popularity than mere radio success alone. Given the fact that NWA’s songs have been covered in a variety of different contexts, including memorably by Red Hot Chilli Peppers and Dynamite Hack, and even Yelawolf (as a “white trash” version). Not only did NWA help demonstrate the attitude of the 213, but it helped inspire that same attitude by many people far outside of that particular context [3]. Apart from NWA, Dr. Dre himself has a noteworthy history of his own. Besides serving as a protégé to many successful rappers in their own right, Dr. Dre’s work is itself very notable. Three times Dr. Dre has won awards as a producer [4], and about every decade or so [5], he releases a massively successful album (he has two multi-platinum albums so far, as well as a platinum one, and one album that has just been released that should hit at least gold) that reminds us not to forget about Dre. Again, that sort of influence is worthy of induction, without question.

Why Aren’t NWA/Dr. Dre in the Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame

I don’t know. Certainly, NWA and Dr. Dre portrayed a violent image and capitalized on the success it brought, but surely that isn’t why they haven’t been inducted yet. I mean, the Sex Pistols got in, and they are to punk what NWA is to rap. Their day will come, and probably sooner rather than later.

Verdict: Certainly these men have been guilty of a few crimes, but in this particular case, the verdict is “put them in” the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. There will be a lot more where they come from when it comes to future rappers in the hall. At least they are nominated this year.

[1] https://edgeinducedcohesion.wordpress.com/2015/08/21/straight-outta-whitewash/

[2] “Hip-Hop Smackdown: It’s All a Game”. Playahata.com. Retrieved 20 August 2015.

[3] See, for example:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Boyz-n-the-Hood

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/N.W.A._and_the_Posse

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/N.W.A_discography

[4] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dr._Dre

See also:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dr._Dre_production_discography

[5] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dr._Dre_discography

About nathanalbright

I'm a person with diverse interests who loves to read. If you want to know something about me, just ask.
This entry was posted in History, Music History, Musings and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to Why Aren’t They In The Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame: NWA/Dr. Dre

  1. Pingback: In Defense Of The Juggalo | Edge Induced Cohesion

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