STARRED REVIEW
December 05, 2017

Legends of rap

By Gerrick D. Kennedy

Drawing on interviews with members of N.W.A.—which founding member Ice Cube once famously called the “World’s Most Dangerous Group—their friends, families and musical associates, journalist Gerrick Kennedy vividly tells the fast-paced, captivating story of the group’s rise, fall and enduring legacy in Parental Discretion Is Advised.

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Drawing on interviews with members of N.W.A.—which founding member Ice Cube once famously called the “World’s Most Dangerous Group—their friends, families and musical associates, journalist Gerrick Kennedy vividly tells the fast-paced, captivating story of the group’s rise, fall and enduring legacy in Parental Discretion Is Advised.

With the staccato, sure-fire delivery of a rap artist, Kennedy chronicles the early lives of each of N.W.A’s members—Eazy-E, who died of complications of AIDS in 1995, Dr. Dre, Ice Cube, MC Ren and DJ Yella—and how they came together to form N.W.A. Dre and Eazy met up as members of the World Class Wrecking Crew, mixing and sampling music at crowded venues around Los Angeles; the two saw rap as way of achieving a better life for themselves. The two eventually meet up with MC Ren, DJ Yella and Ice Cube, who writes many of the lyrics for the group’s biggest hits, including “F*ck Tha Police” and “Gangsta Gangsta.” When the group releases Straight Outta Compton in 1988, the album launches their careers even as it marks the beginning of the end for the group. Kennedy chronicles the now well-known story of Ice Cube’s financial disputes with Eazy and Dre and his subsequent move to a successful solo career, as well as the predatory management practices of their first manager, Jerry Heller. As Kennedy points out, N.W.A’s Straight Outta Compton was a “sonic Molotov cocktail that ignited a firestorm with acidic lyrics which shocked the world.”

Kennedy’s compulsively readable book shines a glowing light on a brilliant group once accused of destroying America’s moral fabric but now occupies a spot in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame for their astonishing contributions to music.

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Parental Discretion Is Advised

Parental Discretion Is Advised

By Gerrick D. Kennedy
Atria
ISBN 9781501134913

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