|Single by Eazy-E|
|from the album N.W.A. and the Posse and Eazy-Duz-It|
|B-side||Dopeman (By N.W.A)|
|Genre||West Coast hip hop, Gangsta rap|
|Writer(s)||Eric Wright, O'Shea Jackson, Andre Young|
|Eazy-E singles chronology|
Boyz-n-the-Hood is the solo debut by rapper Eazy-E as a part of N.W.A. Ice Cube wrote the song, and originally intended it to be for H.B.O., another group signed by Ruthless, but after they rejected it Eazy was convinced to rap it. The song was originally on N.W.A. and the Posse, which started with the phrase: "Cruisin' down the street in my '64". Ruthless Records executive Jerry Heller considers the song to be a mix of Gil Scott-Heron, The Last Poets, the Rolling Stones, and the Black Panthers. This samples "I'm a Ho" by Whodini and vocal samples from Hold it now, Hit it by The Beastie Boys. It was remixed and featured on Eazy's debut album Eazy-Duz-It, which was released in 1988. It was remixed again and was featured on Eazy-E's third album, It's On (
Dr. Dre) 187um Killa (1993) under the name "Boyz-n-the-Hood (G mix)".
In the prelude, Dr. Dre discusses a musical piece composed by Eazy E and recalls that some of their mutual acquaintances initially questioned its artistic viability. He requests that Eazy E perform the piece; he does so, and this comprises the remainder of the track.
In the main body of the track, the narrator awakens around 12 noon and feels a compulsion to travel shortly to the nearby city of Compton. He asserts a need to become intoxicated from alcohol before his day's activities begin in earnest, and before his mother renews an apparently regular practice of complaining about his social acquaintances.
As he departs, several young people nearby indicate with hand signals their affiliation with a gang other than the narrator's. To encourage these potential adversaries to withdraw these gestures (and, indeed, the pretense they imply), the narrator retrieves a MAC-10 firearm and an ammunition clip from inside his home, returns outside, and demonstratively aims the weapon at the perceived offenders. As he anticipates, however, the young people continue their symbolic affront.
The narrator then enters his vehicle (later revealed to be a 1964 Chevrolet Impala) and accelerates; he also assures the listener that his vehicle's hydraulic system is especially well-articulated. He powers on his Alpine-brand stereo system, and plays the N.W.A song "Gangsta Gangsta". (The narrator describes the song as new; indeed, "Gangsta Gangsta" was first released the year after "Boyz-n-the-Hood.") Employing the technique of mise en abyme, the narrator plays on his stereo one of his own compositions and (approximately) recalls its lyrics: In the song, he operates the aforementioned vehicle, engages in sexual intercourse with and commits domestic abuse against multiple women, visits a park to learn from associates about recent occurrences, and observes people playing basketball there. An unknown person drives a Chevrolet El Camino to near the narrator, then, rolling down the window, reveals himself to be fellow rap artist Matthew Garfield, identified here as Kilo G. Kilo G explains that he stole the vehicle and moreover explicitly endorses that method of vehicle acquisition.
Leaving the recollection of the song-within-a-song, the narrator proceeds to the chorus, passing temporarily from narrative to cautionary meditations about the men who live in his neighborhood: They are well-attuned to threats of coercive force and can themselves competently exercise force as circumstances dictate. Moreever, they respond to their criticism by evaluating their detractors' boasts and even threats of violence, and then effectively rescinding their ability to do so. He states, too, that said men are motivated foremost, or even exclusively, by authenticity, but asks the listener not to attribute these assertions to him, insisting (rhetorically) that he has avowed nothing.
Returning to specific descriptions of the day's events, the narrator travels to the residence of a man whom he identifies as B, to learn again whether anything significant has occurred recently. When he arrives, B informs him that a common (and present) acquaintance, J.D., is freebasing. Shortly, the narrator discovers J.D. attempting to purloin the previously mentioned stereo system in the narrator's car. He pursues J.D., ostensibly intending to resolve the conflict peacefully, but J.D. brandishes a gun that uses .22 caliber ammunition, apparently unaware that the narrator himself is carrying a 12-gauge shotgun. In the ensuing duel, the narrator kills J.D. but himself survives. The conflict is later described on the front page of the Los Angeles Times, a local newspaper.
The apparently jaded narrator then expresses his boredom and (again) a desire to consume alcohol, and drives to a location where his close associates often convene for subdued social interaction; those associates, too, earn an income outside their homes. Upon his arrival, some of those associates there offer him a 40-oz. container of Olde English 800 malt liquor, which he accepts and begins to consume, stating that it causes his breath to gain an unpleasant odor. He follows the malt with a Bacardi-brand spirit, then departs for his significant other's residence with the intention of engaging in sexual intercourse with her. While there, she states something that displeases him and moreover confounds his expectations of her. In response, he grabs her by the hair; she protests further, and he strikes her, comparing the rebuke to one a pimp may physically inflict on a prostitute. The woman's father, whom the narrator describes as aged, and who is present for this conflict, stands and objects emphatically to the narrator's conduct. The narrator responds by striking him, too, leaving him unconscious.
The narrator drives home, believing despite his alcohol consumption that he maintains his physical wherewithal, but shortly crashes his vehicle into a telephone pole. Unfazed, he plans to abandon it and purchase a replacement, and travels homeward on foot. En route, he sees Kilo G and a companion in a car that makes an apparently illegal U-turn: They are subsequently pulled over in a traffic stop conducted by an undercover police officer who was driving a green Chevrolet Nova. Kilo G's companion resists arrest and sustains blows in the effort; during the confrontation, the companion's Guess-brand garment is torn, and in retribution he strikes the officer in the head. The incident involves Kilo G's fourth criminal offense, leading the narrator to surmise (correctly, it is soon revealed) that Kilo G will be imprisoned.
Later, the narrator travels to free his associates but cannot: They have been remanded without bail, for instigating a riot in the county prison. Two days later, during municipal court proceedings, Kilo G audibly expels intenstinal gas through his anus, and the judge finds him guilty of obstruction of justice; he remains stoic when the judge announces his sentence of six years. As the bailiff approaches him, he smiles, and yells, "fire," signaling a woman, Suzi, who enters the courtroom with an Uzi submachine gun. Police shoot but do not critically injure her; later, both she and Kilo G are imprisoned for attempted murder.
In 2004, the song was re imagined and sampled by rapper Jim Jones on his debut album On My Way to Church. His version was called "Certified Gangstas", and featured The Game, Lil' Eazy-E and Cam'ron (the album version did not feature the Game, however).
Besides Jim Jones' song there have been many remakes, most notably a cover by alternative rock band Dynamite Hack, which hit #12 on the Billboard Modern Rock Tracks in 2000. The last line of the Dynamite Hack version of the song, "Punkass trippin' but it's all right... homie scored a key, he's gonna fly, punkass fly..." is sung to the tune of the opening line of Beatles song "Blackbird"- "Blackbird singing in the dead of night, take these broken wings and learn to fly."
Hispanic rap group Brownside did a remake to the song called "Vatos In The Barrio". The instrumental of the original is remade, and the lyrics are slightly different but keep the main structure of the Eazy-E version.
In 2006, Lil' Scrappy interpreted a line for his song "Gangsta Gangsta".
The chorus and main notes were used consistently by Red Hot Chili Peppers when they played "Party On Your Pussy" during the Mother's Milk tour of 1989-1990. Shwayze uses one of the lines from "Boyz N The Hood" in his song "Lost My Mind" on his album Shwayze, the line he uses is "Woke up at about noon just thought that I had to be in Compton Soon."
"Hold It Now, Hit It" by the Beastie Boys was apparently sampled much in making "Boyz-n-the-Hood".
"Them Boys Down South" by Big Chance. Track 8 (Disc 2) on DJ Screw's album "The Legend" has the same song style as Boyz-n-the-Hood.
Carl Beringer wrote a new edition called "Yankees Suck"; featuring the phrase "Pedro's on the mound" replacing "Boyz n the Hood".
- Breakdown FM: Still Ruthless-Interview w/ Jerry Heller pt1 on Odeo
- UGK Front, Back Side & Side - Song - MP3 Stream on IMEEM Music
- T.I. FRONT BACK - Song - MP3 Stream on IMEEM Music
- Mike Jones My '64 - Song - MP3 Stream on IMEEM Music