N.W.A's Straight Outta Compton was inducted into the GRAMMY Hall Of Fame and added to the National Recording Registry in 2017
Classic N.W.A album headed straight to Library of Congress
The latest news straight outta D.C. is that The Library of Congress is adding 25 new recordings to its National Recording Registry — the official national collection of "culturally, historically or aesthetically significant" recordings. This year's list of Registry additions is littered with GRAMMY winners such as David Bowie, Barbra Streisand, Wes Montgomery, and Richard Pryor. It also includes 11 works previously inducted into the GRAMMY Hall Of Fame, including recent inductee Straight Outta Compton, the formative classic by rap supergroup N.W.A.
For those keeping score, Straight Outta Compton is the sixth rap record added to the Registry since its launch in 2000. The Recording Academy inducted the groundbreaking album in its 2017 class of GRAMMY Hall Of Fame recordings, on the heels of honoring hip-hop trailblazers Run DMC with a Lifetime Achievement Award the previous year.
These recent acknowledgments, alongside the upcoming Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction of Tupac Shakur presented by Snoop Dogg, signal a potential incoming flood of long-overdue accolades for the golden age era of rap.
The creative landscape that fused late-'80s old-school and early '90s proto-gangsta vibes still represents a veritable treasure trove of influential recordings left largely underappreciated outside the dedicated fanbase, the lifelong boom-bap aficionados, and the crate-digging self-appointed protectors of the early West Coast sound. These are the records that sparked innovation, crystalized interest and intent, and merged the genre's disparate ideologies to lay the groundwork for everyone from Snoop and Dre to Drake and Lil Wayne on down to The Game and Kendrick Lamar.
Just look at the volume of work from the period — albums like Dr. Dre's The Chronic (1992), Run DMC's Raising Hell (1986), Ice T's, Power (1988), Beastie Boys' Licensed To Ill (1986), LL Cool J's Mama Said Knock You Out (1990), Naughty By Nature's Naughty By Nature (1991), Public Enemy's It Takes A Nation Of Millions To Hold Us Back (1988), Salt-N-Pepa's Hot, Cool & Vicious (1986), and Jungle Brothers' Straight Out The Jungle (1988).
And that's only scratching the turntable — err, surface. We want to hear from you: Which formative hip-hop record is most overdue to receive formal recognition? Leave us a comment and share your thoughts.