The song conveys the dangers of living in the streets of Compton, California and South Central Los Angeles but also speaks of the appealing side of "gangsta life". The song has been covered or otherwise remade several times since its release, among them include versions done by The Game, Mack 10 and the 57th Street Rogue Dog Villians with Tech N9ne and a parody of the lyrics appear in "The Salaminizer" by Gwar.
The first three verses are delivered by Ice Cube. The fourth and final verse is delivered by Eazy E. The song is interspersed with interjections from other N.W.A. members.