With all this Compton talk going around in light of Kendrick Lamar’s acclaimed good kid, m.A.A.d city, it’s like the ’90s all over again. So put on somethin’ red, warm up the ‘six trey, pack your
gat lunch, and let’s go cruisin’ down Willowbrook Ave. and take a left down memory lane. We’re off to check out some select music videos devoted to the geographic heart of Los Angeles itself, sometimes known as “Hub City,” but forever noted on the egotripland rap map as “The CPT.”
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1. N.W.A - “Straight Outta Compton” (Ruthless, 1988)
Lets just start with and state the obvious: This is still the Greatest Compton Gangsta Rap Anthem of All-Time (a/k/a the G.C.G.R.A.O.A.T). Bar none. A declaration of CPT identity deemed so dangerous by MTV, the network banned the video. (Because MTV would never air content that would negatively influence young people.)
2. Compton’s Most Wanted - “This Is Compton” (Orpheus, 1990)
This is funky: gangsta rap minimalism (what up, Lee Dorsey) in the vein of CMW’s complimentary (and excellent) “Rhymes Too Funky.” Drop frames, stark B&W visuals – and Eiht and the crew rhyming ’round the Hub City side of the tracks.
3. DJ Quik - “Born & Raised In Compton” (Profile, 1991)
The other CPT anthem. Put ya damn hands up. The scratch-breakdown at 2:37 in particular is the stuff hip-hop is made of.
4. Tim Dog - "Fuck Compton" (Ruffhouse, 1991)
Say it’s the early ’90s – all this Compton rah-rah’in getting you down? Well, it got the Bronx’s Tim Dog foamin’ at the mouth.
East Coast to West Coast in 1991: “Beware of Dog.”
East Coast in 2012: “Where my Dogs at?” We all know how this story ended.
5. DJ Quik - “Jus Lyke Compton” (Profile, 1992)
Quik goes all around the world (actually: Oakland, St. Louis, San Antonio and Denver), and finds the same song: your hood is just lyke his. (Well, maybe not Denver – apparently Quik was not impressed.)
6. Dr. Dre ft. Snoop Dogg - "Nuthin' But A 'G' Thang" (Death Row, 1992)
Compton and Long Beach together? You know you’re in trouble. Granted, this video isn’t dedicated to Compton specifically (the BBQ scene in the park looks to be shot in Baldwin Hills on the other side of town). But it’s so iconic a clip that we relented and included it here on the strength of the fact that the scenes at Snoop’s crib at the beginning and end — which technically should’ve been in Long Beach — were actually shot in Compton according to filmmaker Dwight Patillo, who worked on this and other Chronic videos.
7. Eazy-E ft. B.G. Knocc Out & Dresta - “Real Compton City G’s” (Ruthless 1993)
Everyone remembers how Dre and Snoop got Eazy on “Dre Day.” But Eazy got at least one good shot back at his former N.W.A homie too. “Dre Day only means Eazy’s pay day,” taunted Eric Wright.
8. Att Will - "Just Another Day In Compton" (Big City Records, 1993)
Tweedy Bird Loc associate’s city landmark-festooned video plays like Jazzy Jeff & the Fresh Prince’s “Summertime” meets Cube’s “It Was a Good Day.” There’s even “a party at the Compton Ramada – and we all in.”
9. Luke ft. Clayvoisie & JT Money) - "Cowards in Compton" (Luke Records, 1993)
Like “Fuck Compton” this isn’t the friendliest dedication to the CPT – yet there’s no denying the humor. Worth watching if only for the funny-as-hell intro spoof of “Nuthin’ But a ‘G’ Thang”. Not to mention some overt “Wrekin Crew” potshots at the king of pot, Andre Young, thrown in for comic measure.
10. B.G. Knocc Out & Dresta - "50/50 Luv" (Def Jam, 1995)
Def Jam West CPT reps reminisce over the days of wayback.
11. MC Eiht, King Tee, Gangsta Dresta - "Straight Outta Compton" (Priority, 1998)
Three (or at least two) of CPT’s finest practice their Gangsta Rap Karaoke for this cover version tribute in honor of the 10th Anniversary release of the N.W.A album of the same name. We’re actually quite disappointed that in 2008, a golden opportunity was missed to record a 10th anniversary tribute to this tribute. And thus, the circle of life has been broken.
12. Guerilla Black ft. Beenie Man - Compton (Virgin, 2004)
For those who don’t recall this strange episode in CPT musical history – no, your ears are not deceiving you. Guerilla Black does sound a lot like… someone… eh.. the name escapes us right now. But there’s other things that feel incongruoust. Maybe it’s the Sister Nancy “Bam Bam” sample. Maybe it’s the chosen milieu depicting scenes of the good life, the lyrical references to Cristal and bagels, the visual references to the East Coast gangsta flick Belly, Oh… and the inclusion of Jamaican dancehall king Beenie Man. Shouldn’t this song be titled.. oh… say…“Brooklyn”? Really. We. Just. Don’t. Understand.
13. The Game ft. 50 Cent - Hate It Or Love It (Aftermath/G-Unit, 2005)
For actual songs about Compton, you can peep, well practically half of Game’s actual catalog. In lieu of an actual proper music video for, oh say, “Compton,” though, we’ll take this sunny voyage, along with Fiddy in the driver’s seat, from Queens Blvd to Compton Blvd. featuring plenty of CPT landmarks. (SEE ALSO: Game’s “It’s Okay” ft. Junior Reid, “My Life” ft. Lil Wayne.)
14. Kendrick Lamar - "Compton State of Mind" (Top Dawg Entertainment, 2009)
Kendrick raps about being just a nice kid trapped in crazytown – wouldn’t you know it – a harbinger of great things to come. Ah, now if only Michelé sang the Alica Keys part…
15. K9 and MC Eiht - "Compton" (Fulldeck Records, 2009)
Buoyed by Eiht’s presence, this video, despite its low budget, semi-obscurity, and lack of any historic value, just might actually turn out to be our favorite one of the bunch. Can’t really put our finger on the reason why. But it’s definitely not dude’s ‘fro. There’s just that inexplicable something – a je nes se CPT – that resonates with us ’bout this to which we can remark, Geah!