Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five. Run-DMC. Beastie Boys. Public Enemy. Four—count ‘em four—hip-hop acts have been inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame to date.
Considering hip-hop’s ubiquity across the popular music landscape of the past thirty years, four seems like a trifling number, indeed. Granted, when you account for the Hall’s eligibility rules that stipulate that artists can only be nominated once 25 years have elapsed since the release of their debut album, coupled with the fact that hip-hop’s predominance is a more recent phenomenon, at least relative to other genres, the low number begins to make a bit more sense. Nevertheless, eligible and deserving artists such as Eric B. & Rakim, Big Daddy Kane, De La Soul, KRS-One & Boogie Down Productions, and A Tribe Called Quest warrant recognition. And if justice is served, they’ll receive their due soon enough.
This Friday night at Brooklyn’s Barclays Center, just a short stroll from Albumism headquarters, future Hall of Famer Kendrick Lamar will formally induct his iconic Compton elder statesmen N.W.A as hip-hop’s fifth representative. Along with the four aforementioned groups, the quintet of Dr. Dre, Eazy-E, Ice Cube, MC Ren, and DJ Yella fundamentally transformed hip-hop as we knew it back in the late 1980s, with the release of their visceral magnum opus LP Straight Outta Compton. As the F. Gary Gray directed feature film of the same name revisited last year, N.W.A, more than any other act, solidified the West Coast’s rightful place on the hip-hop map, while elevating their controversial and socio-politically charged Gangster Rap subgenre closer to the mainstream.
In honor of N.W.A’s recognition by the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame this week, we’ve compiled an extensive 64-track playlist that revisits the group’s finest moments on wax, as well as choice selections from the individual members’ solo long players, and a few memorable collaborations with Above the Law and The D.O.C. included for good measure. Unfortunately, aside from the Snoop Dogg blessed, Donny Hathaway inspired “Lil’ Ghetto Boy,” the playlist does not include tracks from Dr. Dre’s seminal 1992 solo debut The Chronic, as the album is not available to stream via Spotify due to rights issues. Despite this omission, however, we’re confident that you’ll find plenty to enjoy—preferably at high volumes—throughout this collection.