Original Gangstas: The Untold Story of Dr. Dre, Eazy-E, Ice Cube, Tupac Shakur, and the Birth of West Coast Rap

Original Gangstas: The Untold Story of Dr. Dre, Eazy-E, Ice Cube, Tupac Shakur, and the Birth of West Coast Rap

by Ben Westhoff

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Overview

Original Gangstas: The Untold Story of Dr. Dre, Eazy-E, Ice Cube, Tupac Shakur, and the Birth of West Coast Rap by Ben Westhoff

"Raw, authoritative, and unflinching ... An elaborately detailed, darkly surprising, definitive history of the LA gangsta rap era."—Kirkus, starred review

A monumental, revealing narrative history about the legendary group of artists at the forefront of West Coast hip-hop: Eazy-E, Dr. Dre, Ice Cube, Snoop Dogg, and Tupac Shakur.

Amid rising gang violence, the crack epidemic, and police brutality, a group of unlikely voices cut through the chaos of late 1980s Los Angeles: N.W.A. Led by a drug dealer, a glammed-up producer, and a high school kid, N.W.A gave voice to disenfranchised African Americans across the country. And they quickly redefined pop culture across the world. Their names remain as popular as ever—Eazy-E, Dr. Dre, and Ice Cube. Dre soon joined forces with Suge Knight to create the combustible Death Row Records, which in turn transformed Snoop Dogg and Tupac Shakur into superstars.

Ben Westhoff explores how this group of artists shifted the balance of hip-hop from New York to Los Angeles. He shows how N.W.A.'s shocking success lead to rivalries between members, record labels, and eventually a war between East Coast and West Coast factions. In the process, hip-hop burst into mainstream America at a time of immense social change, and became the most dominant musical movement of the last thirty years. At gangsta rap's peak, two of its biggest names—Tupac and Biggie Smalls—were murdered, leaving the surviving artists to forge peace before the genre annihilated itself.

Featuring extensive investigative reporting, interviews with the principal players, and dozens of never-before-told stories, Original Gangstas is a groundbreaking addition to the history of popular music.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780316383899
Publisher: Hachette Books
Publication date: 09/13/2016
Pages: 432
Sales rank: 238,291
Product dimensions: 6.30(w) x 8.90(h) x 1.40(d)

About the Author

Ben Westhoff is an award-winning journalist whose work has appeared in The Guardian, Rolling Stone, Vice, Pitchfork, and The Wall Street Journal. He spent three years as the Music Editor at L.A. Weekly, and is the author of Dirty South: Outkast, Lil Wayne, Soulja Boy, and the Southern Rappers Who Reinvented Hip-Hop (Chicago Review Press), which Rolling Stone called "packed with lively reporting and colorful social history."

Table of Contents

1 The Stash 1

2 Sir Romeo 16

3 We'll Pull Your Card 35

4 OG 46

5 I'm Not Giving You Shit 66

6 A Little Bit of Gold and a Pager 76

7 All Hell Breaks Loose 88

8 Most Wanted 112

9 Me and Allah Go Back like Cronies 126

10 Like Winning the Lottery 149

11 The Enforcer 159

12 L.A.'s on Fire 178

13 Silencing the Messenger 196

14 The Funk 205

15 The Heir and the Janitor 221

16 Its On 230

17 What's My Name? 240

18 Negative Rap 249

19 The One by His Side 261

20 Time to Testify 273

21 Political Prophet 290

22 My 44 Make Sure Y'all Kids Don't Grow 310

23 Potential Leads 330

24 Trepidation and Bravado 353

Epilogue 363

Acknowledgments 379

Notes 383

Index 411

What People are Saying About This

Public Enemy - Chuck D

"Original Gangstas shows how the rap West was won. A social and cultural study to read along with a head nodding-soundtrack ‘fo sho’ "

New York Times-bestselling author of The Rap Year Book - Shea Serrano

"I trust Ben Westhoff. I trust him to report a story and I trust him to tell a story, and that's exactly what he's done here in Original Gangstas. He's taken what's always felt like an almost impossibly knotted string of storylines and plot points in gangsta rap, the most turbulent version of the most popular music on the planet, and turned them into an airtight and unflinching book. Original Gangstas is as resolute as the people and ideas it sets out to profile, and that is no small feat."

Academy Award nominee and co-writer of Straight Outta Compton - S. Leigh Savidge

"Scrupulously researched with many incisive revelations, this may be the best book ever written about the hip hop world."

“The Godfather of Hip Hop Radio,” former KDAY DJ, current host of the nationally syndicated “The Greg - Greg Mack

“Original Gangstas is as real as it gets if you want to know the so-called ‘gangsta rap’ scene. Ben Westhoff refrains from using rumors and innuendos, and instead reports the facts, and he tells all sides of this music movement. The book goes into depth about many stories I'd only previously heard via the streets. As the first DJ to play almost everyone mentioned in the book, I found Original Gangstas compelling reading. Thank you, Ben Westhoff, for this great book!”

author of How Music Got Free - Stephen Witt

“Original Gangstas takes readers to the source, the battered communities and difficult lives that spawned an unlikely musical revolution. Eazy and Dre, Tupac and Snoop—Westhoff admires his subjects' music talent but isn't afraid to expose their darkest secrets. His research is exhaustive, while his prose is concise, and the result is an unforgettable history of the last time music was ever really dangerous.”

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Original Gangstas: The Untold Story of Dr. Dre, Eazy-E, Ice Cube, Tupac Shakur, and the Birth of West Coast Rap 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Of all the great hip-hop books ever written, by people like Jeff Chang and Dan Charnas, this stands out as the most real. The reporting is incredible, it's very thorough, yet it flies by. And funny too! Highly recommended.