'Straight Outta Compton'
This was the start of gangsta rap as well as the launching pad for the careers of Ice Cube, Eazy-E and Dr. Dre. While Public Enemy were hip-hop's political revolutionaries, N.W.A. celebrated the thug life. (A collection of Dre-produced tracks for N.W.A. and other artists had been released in 1987 under the name N.W.A. and the Posse, but this was their first real album.) "Do I look like a motherfucking role model?" Ice Cube asks on "Gangsta Gangsta": "To a kid looking up to me, life ain't nothing but bitches and money." Ice Cube's rage, combined with Dr. Dre's police-siren street beats, combined for a truly fearsome sound on "Express Yourself," "A Bitch Iz a Bitch" and "Straight Outta Compton." But it was the protest "Fuck Tha Police" that earned the crew its biggest honor: a threatening letter from the FBI.