The world's eyes are focused firmly on Compton today, as The Game, who is on our cover this week, drops his latest, The R.E.D. Album.
The rapper is never shy about bigging-up his home city, not least by self-styling himself as “Compton's prodigy.” Here's a round-up of the ultimate rap anthems dedicated to the city where Tim Dog still fears to tread.
5. DJ Quik
“Born And Raised In Compton”
A proud hometown calling-card, the ever-underrated DJ Quik paints a picture of a place that's infested with “jackers and the crack,” while also recounting how some nefarious type broke into his crib and “cold stole” his musical equipment. Quik raps that he got the last laugh though, by bouncing back and slapping some “bass in your face” on the “motherfucker silly sucker” — although he's cautious enough to warn that “Sometimes I have to wear a bullet-proof vest/ Because I got the C.P.T. sign written across my chest.”
4. Kendrick Lamar
“Compton State Of Mind”
Yeah, it's technically just a riff on Jay-Z's New York City anthem, but new generation Compton spitter Kendrick Lamar represents for his city's heritage with more conviction than most, as he asserts that, “I've always been out here/ Since the Compton Swap Meet/ Black and red LA Gears/ 'Pac was on Rosecrans.” But whereas his Compton forefathers often focused on the nefarious side of the city, Lamar's outlook on life is positively uplifting, as he pleas, “Please don't come shoot up my party/ I just wanna have fun.” Increase the peace!
3. The Game feat. Will.i.am
Fittingly for a man with an N.W.A. tattoo emblazoned on his chest, Jayceon's fierce ode to the city of Compton is peppered with references to Dr. Dre and his cronies, plus the conviction that when you walk through Compton you can still feel Eazy-E's spirit at large. And for once a Will.i.am cameo works. Bonus rap history marks for a reference to “We're All In The Same Gang.”
2. Compton's Most Wanted
“This Is Compton”
'89 vintage from the gangsta rap connoisseur's favorite crew, MC Eiht and Tha Chill take turns dropping verses that feature a cast of ballers, skeezers, and “loced-out motherfuckers.” Over a rugged-but-funky DJ Slip production, MC Eiht also politely offers up some sage advice not widely circulated by the Compton Tourist Board: “You entered the criminal zone/ If you're just a little punk-ass fool you should run on home.”
“Straight Outta Compton”
“Straight outta Compton, crazy motherfucker named Ice Cube/ From the gang called Niggas With Attitudes.” So begins the statement-of-intent that caused waves of panic to ripple through safe suburban America, as Cube, Eazy, Dre, Ren and Yella hipped the wider world to a blighted place filled with gangsta grimaces and gunshots. Over the fearsome “Amen, Brother” break, the attitude-laden raps sum up what the Compton renegades were touting around as “the strength of street knowledge.” Call it the ultimate anti-tourist's rap anthem.
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