We gave it a C
N.W.A’s second full-length album, NIGGAZ4LIFE, is at times near brilliant and elsewhere disgusting, with virtually no contact between the depths and the heights. As anyone who has followed rap for the past three years knows, N.W.A stands for ”Niggas With Attitude,” a not-so-subtle hint about these four L.A. rappers’ unwillingness to conform to conventional decency or authority. Like their 1989 debut, Straight Outta Compton, and their 1990 EP, 100 Miles and Runnin’, NIGGAZ4LIFE is full of violence, drugs, and so-called ”bitches.” The group offers no apologies, nor any moral lessons. On the first half of the album, they craftily capture the rage-filled nihilism that has come to define life for countless young, urban black men, especially the way this anger is directed at the police, who, in the opinion of many blacks, often act like invading marauders. However, the callous, casual misogyny dominating the second half (”One Less Bitch,” ”To Kill a Hooker”) turns my stomach; compared with the group’s fantasies of revenge against cops or rivals, the violence against women is destructive to the black community, and sick. In any event, you’ll be hard-pressed to find a recent pop release that sounds so lush and seductive; Dr. Dre and D.J. Yella’s musical production is arresting and incredibly funky. I don’t want to take the easy way out and dismiss this record; I want to give the first half an A and the second an F. But I’ll have to settle for C.