Old school West Coast rap fans who are also feminists are having a rough month, not that it’s ever been a comfortable position to occupy: Straight Outta Compton, the NWA biopic which drops today, whitewashes the misogyny that comprised a good amount of the seminal rap group’s music and does nothing to mention Dr. Dre’s violence against women at the time; Ice Cube is still differentiating between “respectable” women and women he believes to be “bitches” and “hoes”; Dre released a mostly sub-par album in Compton that also features a skit entertaining the sound of a woman being murdered amid her own screams; Compton director F. Gary Gray, when asked to address some of these issues, dismissed and essentially hung up on The Cut’s Allison P. Davis. It’s all very dumb!
(Secondarily: a cavalcade of very wack people on Twitter are making endless “Straight Outta...” jokes that defang the intent of the original “Straight Outta Compton” and also provoke an ever-increasing cringe of contact-embarrassment in my entire being.)
WWA, though, a new rap crew comprised of Chicago-area stars Chella H, Sasha Go Hard, Katie Got Bandz, and Lucci Vee, does so much to right this ship. Previewing an EP coming later this summer, the quartet brings us “Straight Outta Chicago,” their own take on the seminal NWA track of similar title, making the case that not only are they as or more badass than their forebears but also that parts of Chicago, as anyone pays attention to the news knows, are to 2015 what Compton was to 1988: crime-riddled and in crisis thanks to abject governmental neglect (RAHM) and systemic poverty. “I lost my BD and my brother in the same week,” Chella H raps bitingly on the second verse. “So in case you couldn’t tell, me I’m up in the streets. And I ain’t actin like a sweet bitch, I see your struggle. I for-real hustle.”
“NWA started this street shit,” said Chella in a press release. “I respect artists that speak their minds at all times without giving a fuck, they remind me of us, you can say W.W.A. is the female version of that movement.”
Yes it is! The swagger, if I may so resurrect a useful word, is palpable in this shit: the only boys are the back-up dancers, juking in the homegrown style, and the flow is unrelenting, complimentary, and spat out like a tommy gun. Katie Got Bandz opens with the driving-a-whip dance and her flow sounds like it, while Lucci Vee plays Cube on the chorus and eats up the beat. Sasha Go Hard, on the third verse, shows why she’s one of Chicago’s most acclaimed local rappers, and raps: “Pull up on your main in the Range give me brain,” a perfectly biting and succinct parallel to the blowjob territory NWA let us all roast with for decades. (GIVE ME BRAIN, GOOD MAN!) The WWA EP drops later this summer and I am excited.
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