Hip-hop was still very much dominated by New York in 1987 when Macola Records (a company that distributed numerous L.A. rap labels in the 1980s, including Eazy-E's Ruthless Records) distributed N.W.A's groundbreaking debut album, N.W.A and the Posse. Ice-T was among the few West Coast rappers enjoying national exposure, and gangsta rap was far from the phenomenon it would become a few years later. A number of the songs -- including the brutally honest "Dopeman" -- would be reissued on Straight Outta Compton, while Eazy-E's first single, "Boyz-n-the Hood" would be included on his 1988 solo album, Eazy-Duz-It. And the entire album would be reissued by Priority in 1989. This CD ranges from those early and seminal examples of gangsta rap to songs that are pure, unapologetic fun -- such as the outrageously humorous "Fat Girl" and N.W.A associates the Fila Fresh Crew's "Drink It Up," an infectious ode to booze employing the melody from the Isley Brothers' "Twist and Shout." One of the Crew's members was the D.O.C., who Dr. Dre and Eazy-E took to the top of the charts in 1989. Though not quite on a par with Straight Outta Compton, this is an engaging and historically important CD that's well worth acquiring.
AllMusic Review by Alex Henderson