Listen to the isolated vocals for N.W.A. song ‘Express Yourself’
(Credit: N.W.A.)

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Listen to the isolated vocals for N.W.A. song 'Express Yourself'

In a world before Soundcloud, Bandcamp and Youtube meant that artists were able to express themselves to the masses at the touch of a button, N.W.A. managed to achieve the monumental feat of pushing a lyrical style that was confrontational, shocking and most importantly true to real-life and delivered like a lightning bolt straight into the heart of the mainstream.

N.W.A. are rightly considered some of hip-hop’s greatest pioneers, their album Straight Outta Compton delivered in buckets. The stars of the show include Ice Cube, who gets most of the iconic lines throughout the record; Eazy-E, whose unique voice and leadership role within the group puts him in the prime slot of most tracks; and Dr Dre, who gets the album’s single most accessible song that is without direct violence or profanity, ‘Express Yourself’.

The song would become a vital piece of the group’s iconography and, below, we’re checking out the powerful isolated vocals of the song. It provides not only a reminder of their powerful statements but also that Dr Dre is one hell of a performer. Dre handles most of the verses on the song, though Ice Cube and MC Ren deliver verses on the extended version of the track.

Released in 1989 as the last single from the Straight Outta Compton, ‘Express yourself’ is some of the group’s finest work. Buoyant and bristling with bright energy, the track can feed into every single party you’d want to attend. It is difficult to hear the song and not feel emboldened to challenge those in authority willing to bring you down and constrain your expression.

The song was famously used by Australian radio station Triple J as an act of protest. The station’s staff left the song on a loop, playing out across the airwaves 82 times in total, in a bid to have DJ Nick Franklin reinstated to his post after he was suspended for playing N.W.A. song ‘Fuck Tha Police’.

The track works marvellously as a protest anthem, a party start or, indeed, a reflection of N.W.A.’s power. Below, using the acapella track of the song, we get a sense of all of this.