Rap Round Table: Wu-Tang vs. N.W.A. vs. A Tribe Called Quest

Categories: Rap Round Table

RRT June 26.jpg
Photo illustration by John Seaborn Gray
Some rappers happen to be thoughtful, intelligent people. Each week, Rocks Off will have some of them here discussing issues relevant to their culture.

This Week's Panel: Mic Skills, E.S.G., Chingo Bling, D-Risha, Kiotti, Mac, Yung Redd, Damien Randle, Yung Truth, Fat Tony

Not Invited: Whoever gave Are We There Yet? the green light.

This Week's Prompt: One of the more enjoyable byproducts of Ice-T's The Art of Rap documentary has been the conversations it ignited. One of the ones that landed in my inbox last week: Which rap group will be regarded as more important in 40 years, Wu-Tang, A Tribe Called Quest or N.W.A.?

Mic Skills: NWA because they brought gangsta rap to the mainstream, including the use of the word "nigga." [Also they] had three important members -- Ice Cube, Dr. Dre and Easy-E -- who went on to make solo hits and/or discover and introduce more talent.

Hip-hop heads will say Tribe or Wu, but ask a die hard hip-hop fan to name a song from any of the three; they'll say "Straight Outta Compton." Funny thing is, I bet Wu and Tribe members would say the same.

Show: N.W.A. They were the bigger groups, and its members have probably had as great an impact on the culture of rap as anyone.

D-Risha: I would love to say the other two, but honestly I have to say N.W.A., mainly because Dr. Dre has produced three decades worth of influential MCs and music that is always in the forefront.

Wu and Tribe are loved by lyric lovers, but they are few and far between. Whatever Dre or Cube co-sign is made official and meant for popular consumption -- white people [laughs] -- to spend lots of money on.

Chingo Bling: N.W.A. because of the polarizing/revolutionary message attacking social issues with the use of L.A. gang culture.

Kiotti: N.W.A. The contribution I feel they made was important because of the type of music they made. Gangsta rap pioneers. Add the fact that Dr. Dre and Ice Cube launched careers that are still going from that N.W.A. platform; game-changers.

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'N.W.A because they brought gangsta rap to the mainstream and use of the word 'nigga'' They're not good things. Who has better beats? Wu-Tang, RZA's beats are better and more versatile than Dre's. Who's got the best concepts? Probably Wu-Tang again, either them or Tribe. Best lyrics? Wu, easy. More positive? Tribe without a doubt. Best solo careers? Wu, hands down. You ask any hip-hop fan name all NWA members they'll give you Dre, Cube and Eazy-E, ask them to name all of Wu they'll give you all 9. Who got most character? Wu, only weak link is U-God. Biggest fan base? Wu again, how many people do you see with NWA tattoos or shirts? Stronger musicality? Tribe no argument. What do NWA actually get points for? They gave hip-hop a bad image. I like Cube and Dre's solo material and some of the stuff as a group but what they brought to the mainstream is negativity. Everyone outside of hip-hop talks bad about hip-hop saying it's all about degrading women, guns, drugs etc. NWA are responsible for this.

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