A lot happened during the 1980s in hip hop, and the decade saw an influx of new artists as new sounds and subgenres began to emerge. On the East Coast, you had Run-DMC and LL Cool J running things, and on the West Coast, you were getting the emergence of gangsta rap with Ice-T and NWA.
However, there were others all over America, you had the Geto Boys running the South in Houston, and other Chicago rappers were on the rise with hip house growing to become popular. However, the ’80s most impactful crew was undeniably Compton’s N.W.A.
N.W.A is a legendary crew and changed hip hop forever. One of the first hip hop acts to come out of California after Ice-T, N.W.A was the first nationally accepted and respected Californian hip hop act. However, with all the controversy the group caused, they soon found themselves at the centre of a media firestorm condemning gangsta rap and its lyrics.
Comprised of Ice Cube, Eazy-E, Dr Dre, MC Ren and DJ Yella, many would point to N.W.A. as the kings of gangsta rap, as they were the group that brought it to a wider audience and crossed it into the mainstream. With songs such as ‘F*k The Police’ and Eazy-E’s ‘Boyz-N-The-Hood’, N.W.A ended up going nationwide with their music. They were unstoppable with vicious rappers such as Ice Cube and mega-producers such as Dr Dre.
With this being the case, they were competing and performing as a group throughout the ’80s, so when it came to awards and accolades, they were only eligible for group nominations. However, despite New York’s often sanctimonious attitude towards other regions of the US with regard to hip hop, N.W.A had no hostility towards the city or its artists and, in 1991, were happy to present Queens rapper LL Cool J with his MTV Video Music Award for ‘Best Rap Video’.
You can watch Eazy E present the award in the video below.