James Bernard
August 30, 1991 AT 04:00 AM EDT

Straight Checkn 'Em

type
Music
Current Status
In Season
Producers
Orpheus
genre
Hip-Hop/Rap

We gave it an A-

You’d think that L.A. gangsta rap would get tiresome after N.W.A, Ice Cube, Ice-T, DJ Quik, and their imitators. Wrong. Compton’s Most Wanted are making a big splash with their engaging ”Growin’ Up in the Hood” from the Boyz N the Hood soundtrack. On their second album, Straight Checkn ‘Em, which instantly cracked the pop album chart, they cover familiar gangsta rap territory, making it seem fresh perhaps because their music struts a little off-center, sounding more relaxed than the usual gangsta rap stomp. Never preachy or whiny, the entire collection swings even as Compton’s Most Wanted refuse to celebrate the violence that pervades their neighborhood. A-

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