N.W.A. was one of the first major hip-hop collectives to emerge from the West Coast. N.W.A.'s alumni include some of hip-hop's most influential artists, including Ice Cube, Dr. Dre, Eazy E, and the D.O.C. The group's debut shows a band with all the raw energy and musical sophistication of a hardcore punk band.
N.W.A. AND THE POSSE is a gritty, unpolished excursion into gansta rap, a genre that was still in its infancy at the time of this release. Deep-pitched kick drums and cavernous, snapping snares courtesy of the 808 drum machine provide the rhythmic backbone for all the tracks. Sampled rock guitar riffs and syncopated scratching round out the sonic assault, which helped win fans among headbangers. N.W.A.'s graphic lyrics deal with daily life in the ghettos of Compton, though an overt sense of humor helps to leaven the braggadocio and misogynism. Sampling is used creatively in "Drink It Up," a tribute to alcohol that lifts the refrain from the Isley Brothers' "Twist and Shout." Though N.W.A.'s debut is not on par with its landmark follow-up, STRAIGHT OUTTA COMPTON, it nevertheless showcases the outfit's youthful enthusiasm and future promise.