Posts Tagged ‘Underground’

2 April

Episode 7 – Gold without radio play

Question: When did it become possible for a Hip Hop Artist or Group to sell 500,000 units without radio airplay?

N.W.A. - Straight Outta Compton

N.W.A. - Straight Outta Compton

This feat was successfully done by west cost Hip Hop group N.W.A. with their LP entitled “Straight Outta Compton” which they led up to with their self titles LP “N.W.A. And The Posse.” Let’s realize when this was done too. This was done in the late 1980s. Downloading music was not a concept yet and vinyl and cassette tape were the mediums in which music was produced and sold to the masses. All throughout the music world, getting radio play was a sure way to sell records. If the song got played on radio, then it would sell. Therefore Hip Hop artists made their songs radio friendly for just that purpose. I’m not just talking about clean lyrics… music production was a little more polished and hooks and choruses were very catchy. N.W.A. did the very opposite. In fact their name N.W.A. stands for N****s With Attitudes and they really meant that. They cursed, berated women and made sure they said extremely negative things about the public law enforcement agencies. To be honest they just didn’t give a f**k!! Most radio stations have “Family Value” images to uphold and playing a song from N.W.A. would not be appropriate. Even though N.W.A. made a conscious effort to make radio friendly versions of their songs none of them really got radio play. (more…)