5 LIFE LESSONS YOU CAN LEARN FROM N.W.A

Straight Outta Compton has been on the tip of the nation’s tongue, since it debuted on August 17.  After raking in over $170 million and debuting at number one for three weeks in a row the notorious group has maintained its media presence for various reasons.  Whether you praise NWA for speaking out against police brutality or you shun them for their misogynistic lyrics, there is a lot to learn from the most dangerous group.  Below are 5 lessons in street knowledge N.W.A has taught us in their song titles alone.

“Gangsta Gangsta”- Being assertive and confident is a key to success.  NWA taught us this when they went head to head with the police at a concert in Detroit.  Officers warned the crew not to perform their hit F— the police, due to its racially charged violent lyrics against authority.  Luckily, the boys knew their rights and performed the hit anyway. While they were arrested and hit with a fine, it was a pivotal moment in Hip Hop.

“Fuck tha police”- There will always be someone who bets against you in life but you can’t let that stop you.  For N.W.A MTV was another thorn in their side.  N.W.A was initially rejected by MTV and had to fight to have their music video in rotation.  The group’s persistence is what ultimately got their video air time, despite earlier reviews that their video was too violent.  In reality, the group was simply reporting on the relationship between Black civilians and police in Compton, a reality that mainstream media neglected.

“Cash Money”- Financial Literacy is imperative for everyone.  Ice Cube understood this concept when he walked away from a $75,000 check given to him by the group’s manager Jerry Hiller.  Cube understood his worth and that he was being underpaid.  He knew that in business and life that the first offer is not always the best offer.

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“Express Yourself” – Expression is a powerful tool.  You may never reach your fullest potential without exerting self-expression.  N.W.A flourished by being genuine and encouraged others to do the same.  During a time when the nation neglected Compton, N.W.A used their platform to encourage people to never be ashamed of who they are or where they come from.

“Alwayz Into Something”-  Never keep all your eggs in one basket, most successful people have several sources of income.  N.W.A patented this mantra.  Easy E went from being the super star in the group to signing other big acts from Snoop Dog, Bones Thugs and Harmony and Tupac.  Ice cube invested his money into TV and film, while Dr. Dre became the first billionaire in Hip Hop after selling his headphones Beats by Dre to Apple.

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Lady Saw Talks New Album, Reality Television and Inspiring Women.

The Queen of Dance Hall is back with her new album Alter Ego. Marion Hall has been giving us hits for the past 25 years and continues to deliver fire. A listening party was held for Hall at Chung King Studios here in Manhattan, and the responses to the album have been explosive. The event was packed with media reps and other artists, such as reggae singer Serani, who came out to show love. After all of the commotion settled, I sat down with Lady Saw and had an intimate conversation with her about the album, reality TV and how she plans to uplift women.

The “I’ve got your man” singer shows no signs of settling down. Her newest fourteen track album includes melodic tunes and the infamous dance hall tracks she is praised for. This time around, Hall plays with different genres from country to blues while collaborating with mega-stars like Flo-rida, Estelle and Beres Hammond. While speaking on the collaborations with Flor-rida Lady Saw reflects back to her manager telling her “[Flo-rida] is too expensive, you can’t afford him.” When it was all said and done, the “Low” rapper agreed to do the song for free. Lady Saw humbly says, “God works everything out”.

The exchange between the timeless singer and I was comical when I asked about reality television. Lady Saw laughs and says, “ So much of my life is in the media and I’ll say things on stage and talk about my sex life because I like to shock people. My sex life is good, it’s very good. I can’t do the Hollywood thing, I can’t do the camera in my face every day. I’m a boring person on a regular day, my real friends are grown women and too busy counting their money from their businesses to gossip”.

When asked what she wanted people to get from this album, she simply answers “I want people to know there are layers to me, I want to inspire and uplift women.” Unbeknownst to her she is already supporting women in a big way. A percentage of the proceeds from Alter Ego will be going towards aiding battered women through the Lady Saw Foundation. The album includes songs that recognize abuse and recall abusive events that have occurred in her life.

Alter Ego is a complete mix of emotions but a pleaser none the less. It is now available on iTunes, and you can get additional information about The Lady Saw Foundation at ladysaw.com.

Clink the link to check out Lady Saw getting it in at her album release party in NYC