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This piece by Khalil Amani is in response to TRUTH Minista Paul Scott’s editorial “F**K N.W.A. – ‘Why N.W.A Should NEVER Be In The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame’”
Rap group N.W.A. (Ni**az Wit Attitudes) was one of the seminal groups of the genre known as “Gangsta Rap.” From Compton, California these guys became stars before the radio embraced them. They rapped that real hardcore street ish. They rapped about smashing chicks. They rapped about being gangsters—and like any great movie of the Godfather/Scarface ilk—America was drawn to them. They sold over 10 million records in America alone and now they are being nominated for induction into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame! Yes!
But hold on! Stop the presses! This guy, Minista Paul Scott (Who?!), a social critic (and I guess, a hip-hop head of the conscious variety) ain’t happy about it! He has laid the plight of urban, ghetto-dwelling America squarely at the feet of N.W.A. Hot dayum!
(Minista Paul Scott)
But why do we even care about what Minista Paul Scott thinks about N.W.A.? Like who is he? (His bio. says he’s been on a shed-load on TV shows and created ”African Liberation TheoIogy”–a rip-off of James Cone’s “Black Liberation Theology.”) So I have to assume that his voice/opinion is somewhat important in hip-hop circles to be on Allhiphop.com, (and other sites) ‘cause a nigga like me?—had I spoken ill of N.W.A. would’ve gotten the talk-to-da-hand! So I guess he’s impotent important. I guess…
Am I missing something here? Are we talking music or are we talking “The Destruction of Black Civilization?” (See Chancellor Williams’s book) What is this dude “Minista” Paul Scott talking about? By virtue of his self-proclaimed title “Minista” he’s either on some religious and/or pro-black stuff or he’s just a hater of N.W.A.’s discography. We can assume that he’s the pro-black consciousness of the hip-hop nation whose Negritude is quite substantial. (Or a blacker-than-thou afrocentrist who wants to be hip-hoppity cool by using Ebonics/slang/regional dialect to misspell “minister”—thereby helping contribute to the legacy of N.W.A.’s dumbing-down of the hood. Side-eye.)
So Minista Scott doesn’t wanna see N.W.A. in the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. Why? Because he insists that their music spawned the decline of black people and influenced the young to a life of criminality and is responsible for the deaths of black people. He further claims “N.W.A. represents everything that went terribly wrong with the art-form [of rap].” In short, N.W.A. made it cool for blacks to kill blacks. This is the simplicity of his argument.
I was a 20-something year old college kid back in those days who used to blast “Straight Out Compton,” “Tha Chronic” and “Doggystyle” and never once did I think about picking up a gat and pushin’ a nigga’s wig back! Never once thought of affiliating myself with the Bloods & Crips! I’ve never shanked anyone and I was a huge gangsta rap fan! (Still am, ’cause Fiddicent’s “G.R.O.D.T.” stay in my CD player!)
But let the minister tell it! These ghetto children were the zombies of N.W.A.
Forget the fact that gang-life in the hood started waaaay before hip-hop was even birthed! Forget about the socio-economic blight of impoverished areas like South Central, Compton and Watts. Forget that the Bloods & Crips were the stepchildren of the Black Power Movement of the Black Panther Party, which was dismantled by J. Edgar Hoover’s “Cointel” (counter-intelligence) program and left to their own devices. (See “The Cointel Pro Papers” by Churchhill & Vanderwall).
I mean, this is, apparently where Minista Scott wants to take it!
N.W.A. is no island! They didn’t come on the scene out of nowhere (as the minista suggests!) They are the product of the legacy of Los Angeles, which they were exposed to daily. Blaming N.W.A. for the ills of black life is akin to Rush Limbaugh blaming Trayvon Martin for his own murder! N.W.A. were victims of circumstance! Their world-view had not evolved out of their community.
And since when was the standard and litmus-test for musical greatness judged by an artist’s civil and political works towards his own people and neighborhood? I mean, like, are those rock & roll bands asked about how much influence they had on white kids taking Quaaludes, acid, speed, smoking reefer and dropping out of school and running away to San Fran’s “Haight-Ashbury” district to sing the Beatle’s “Strawberry Fields” and all of the ills that plague white folks in their communities? White-on-white murder may be lower, but let me guess—I bet white economics is higher in white neighborhoods! (Does it really take a rocket scientist to deconstruct how and why N.W.A. rapped about criminality?)
I don’t hear white folk dissing Cat Stevens a.k.a. Yusef Islam about his Rock & Roll Hall of Fame nomination, although he’s had some sketchy-ness in his life that some could say indirectly hurt America [forget a hood!] (i.e. his quoting Islamic law regarding the fatwa against Salmon Rushdie for his book “Satanic Verses” and seemingly turning his back on his Christian faith and country.)
Now let’s get to the music, which is really what the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame is all about! N.W.A. was iconic! There’s no denying what they brought to the table! So it was violent! So it was dirty! So it was negative! So it was gritty and filled with tales of hood-life gone awry! We get that! But it was truthful! And the WORLD got that!
N.W.A. is to gangsta rap was Elvis was to Rock & Roll! Do you know what they were saying about Elvis when he was gyrating his hang-low in the faces of adoring white chicks? He’s evil! He’s the devil! But Elvis changed the game! The same can be said of N.W.A. They changed the game! Is it their fault that people got tired of the politically charged music of X Clan and Public Enema Enemy? All N.W.A. did was expound and built upon Grandmaster Flash’s “The Message.”
At the end of the day, it should (only) be about the music that gets a person or group inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. It should be about a group’s impact on pop culture (whether negative or positive) and how great their music and movements where. All of the self-righteous negritudenal (I know that’s not a word, but it expresses my point!) posturing to have a musical group stay within the confines of acceptable racial boundaries is ludacrisp silly! If Minista Paul Scott says, “Fuck N.WA.!” I say, “Fuck Minista Paul Scott!” Now give N.WA. their just desserts!
Khalil Amani is a blogger for AllHipHop. He also writes for DJ Kay Slay’s Originators Magazine & Straight Stuntin Magazine. Amani also writes for Hoodgrown, Maybach and Sext Magazines. He is the author of six books, including the ground-breaking book, “Hip-Hop Homophobes…” iuniverse.com 07). Amani is gay hip-hop’s self-proclaimed straight advocate. Visit The Coonerific One at http://www.khalilamani.ning.com Follow on Facebook/Twitter @khalilamani. Youtube @ yahweh 12 Khalilamani@yahoo.com