We're in the middle of N.W.A yearbook season. Straight Outta Compton, a long-in-the-works biopic on the iconic LA hip-hop group, comes out Friday, a full week after the release of Dr. Dre's unexpected third album, Compton: A Soundtrack By Dr. Dre, which was inspired by the making of the N.W.A film. Since the windup to the first part of this massive one-two hip-hop-legacy punch landed—which we can place at about two weeks ago, when Dre announced the imminent release of his album—the floodgates for the Straight Outta Compton content stream have opened.
Among the river of Instagram photos, quick takes on the Dre album, and stories about the film, the reexaminations of N.W.A's history and legacy, however small, have piqued my interest. Sikivu Hutchinson's Huffington Post piece on how the film avoids the group's history of misogyny comes to mind, as does Amos Barshad's conversation with beleaguered onetime N.W.A manager and lightning rod Jerry Heller for Grantland. Hell, I even enjoyed Fast Company's short history of "Bye, Felicia," a throwaway line from 1995's Friday—which was helmed by Compton director F. Gary Gray and stars Ice Cube—and the phrase's emergence as a viral phenomenon as well as its placement in the new biopic.
Closer to home, four MCs have tipped the hat to N.W.A while launching a new group. Last week Sasha Go Hard, Katie Got Bandz, Chella H, and Lucci Vee announced that they had formed W.W.A, aka Women With Attitudes, and planned to put out a mixtape called Straight Outta Chicago sometime this week. The group name and cover art are an obvious homage to N.W.A, but from the sounds of the short clips from the group's recent sessions at south-side recording studio Complex 2010 these tracks sound like the fierce Chicago hip-hop each of the W.W.A members have crafted individually. I can barely make out Sasha's staccato flow in one of the clips, and the rapid-fire percussion—which at times sounds like a Newton's Cradle operating at an inhumanely fast pace—dominates these segments, but what little I've heard is promising. Keep an ear out for Straight Outta Chicago, which should come out before the N.W.A biopic.