A parody says a lot about its object or subject. There has to be substance, style and meaning to a composition, character, situation for it to be qualified for parody. Perhaps most importantly, you don’t parody something that doesn’t mean anything to you or to others. In the world of art at least, a parody, especially if well done, is an honor. That doesn’t mean that the original always goes unharmed. A parody is not the same as an homage. Best believe that when L.A. rap group Niggas With Attitude exploded onto the scene with the songs “Straight Outta Compton”, “Gangsta Gangsta” and “F–k Tha Police”, a not insignificant amount of listeners, including ones familiar with the matter, laughed at the overblown performance.
And yet the effect was irreversible and the accompanying album, “Straight Outta Compton”, hitting shelves in early 1989, would prove to be one of rap music’s absolute landmark releases. Previous posts in this series covered a wide range of music directly referencing The World’s Most Dangerous Group, this time we aim to raise a laugh with the Parody Edition of They Try to Be Like Me: Songs in Tribute to N.W.A. As it happens, all our finds tackle the album’s titular track. The song seems to invite parodies, but a particular kind. It also has to do with the specificality of the content. Karaoke it all you want, it’s impossible to cover the song in an artistically meaningful way unless you too are from Compton, CA. Which was the case for 1998’s ’10th Anniversary Tribute’ recording that had King T, MC Eiht and Dre’sta stand in for Cube, Ren and Eazy (as featured in Part 2).
Getting to the parodies, let’s start with the unfortunate case of the movie CB4, an early Chris Rock vehicle and gangsta rap satire whose musical parts only rudimentarily ridiculed gangsta rap’s content and style. Established recording artists Hi-C and Daddy-O lent their voices to CB4’s raps but couldn’t save the unimaginative “Straight Out of Locash”:
The parodies collected in this post are much more realized because they often exploit the juxtaposition of dropping tough talk over hard-hitting beats in a decidedly un-Compton setting. That’s why they are precisely not parodies of “Straight Outta Compton” in the most strict sense. They turn the joke on themselves. They use the familiar in-your-face style to make fun of their own lives – or at least lives that are closer to them than the ones portrayed in “Straight Outta Compton.” But the original always resonates, so whether it’s dirty sock puppets, British gentlemen expounding on cricket, comic book collectors and gamers, preppy collegians and polite suburbanites, political caricatures, residents of Gotham and inmates of Arkham, office clerks, witchcraft and wizardry students, they all help secure N.W.A their place in pop culture.
10) Straight Outta Hamper
“Comin’ straight out the hamper, crazy mother-folder named Sock Tube / From a pile called Socks With Attitude”
9) Straight Outta Creighton
“My hands are soft but don’t be mistaken / I’m a bad preppy dude and I’m straight out of Creighton”
8) Straight Out Da Office
“Straight out the office, is a brother that’ll smother / the butter on a bagle”
7) Straight Outta Options
“I’m the best business man and you know this / Though the bancruptcy courts won’t show this / But I don’t give a f–k, I’m gonna say my thoughts / Don’t care if it offends Mexicans or broads”
6) Straight Out of Surrey
“It’s like burglary, our definition of batting / With a legal straight arm, I’ll send you packing / I’ll whack another boundary in a minute / I find a gap in the outfield and go and fill it”
5) Straight Outta Vaughn
“Straight outta Vaughn, fresh cut from the salon / Underground sprinkler, so I got a nice lawn”
4) Straight Outta Hogwarts
“Straight outta Hogwarts, crazy muthaf–ka named Potter / From the gang of wizards that slaughter / When I’m called out, I got my wand out / Flick of the wrist and the bodies are hauled out”
3) Comin Straight Outta Comicon
“So when I’m at your Comic-Con, you better duck / cause my cosplay is crazy as f–k”
2) Straight Outta Gotham
“Damn son, you knew I was a crime boss / Ain’t no tellin’ when I’m down for a coin toss / Here’s a murder rap from the district attorney / puttin’ suckers in jail or on a gurney”
1) Straight Outta Dunwoody
“Straight outta Dunwoody, where we wear jeans and button-ups / Sag your pants around here, you better pull ’em up”