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NWA - Boyz-n-the-hood - Original Single.jpg
Original 12" sleeve
Single by Eazy-E
from the album N.W.A. and the Posse
"Dopeman" (N.W.A)
ReleasedMarch 3, 1987
FormatVinyl single
GenreGangsta rap
O'Shea Jackson
Eazy-E singles chronology
Alternative cover
Cover of the 1989 maxi-12" reissue.
Cover of the 1989 maxi-12" reissue.

"Boyz-n-the-Hood" is the debut single by Eazy-E as a part of N.W.A. The song is the lead single from N.W.A. and the Posse. The song samples "I'm a Ho" by Whodini and vocal samples from, "Hold It, Now Hit It" by Beastie Boys as well as "Mr. Big Stuff" by Jean Knight and, near the end, the opening of "I'll Take You There" by The Staple Singers. 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 Tha Hood (G-Mix)".

In 2015, "Boyz-n-the-Hood" debuted at number 50 on the Billboard Hot 100 on the issue dated September 5, 2015, as a result of the recent releases of the Straight Outta Compton film and Dr. Dre's Compton; it was the third-highest debut on the chart that week, behind "Straight Outta Compton", another song from the album and the N.W.A era, and "Hit the Quan".[1] Like the LP, Straight Outta Compton, the song never charted in the 1980s, largely due to Billboard charting regulations and lack of airplay, as N.W.A was banned from many radio stations.[2][3][4][5][6]

Recording and inspiration

The song was originally written by Ice Cube for NY rap group H.B.O. (Home Boys Only), another group signed by Ruthless. HBO had more of a NY, Run DMC type of sound and rejected its hard core stylization. In hopes of an inclusive (NWA) group effort, Dre convinced Eazy to give rapping a shot.[7] According to DJ Yella, it was Eazy's first ever rap performance, and he had to record the track line by line over the course of two days.[8][9]

In his 2005 book Can't Stop Won't Stop: A History of the Hip-Hop Generation, Jeff Chang analyzes the plot of "Boyz-n-the-Hood" and two supporting characters: car thief Kilo G and crack addict JD. In the second and third verses, Eazy-E raps about killing JD for trying to steal his car stereo right before a sexual encounter with a woman that ends with Eazy "reach[ing] back like a pimp and slap[ping] the hoe."[10] In the fourth verse, Kilo G is arrested and held without bail, and he incites a prison riot. Chang writes that this plot twist is "a sly interpolation of Jonathan Jackson's real-life a 1970 Marin County courthouse shootout."[10]


The original version of the song, which was released on 1987's N.W.A. and the Posse contained only the five verses, starting with the line 'Cruisin down the street in my six-fo'. Slight lyric changes are also present in the album version.

The remix version contains a prologue that has Eazy-E describing playing the track "Gangsta Gangsta" from his group's N.W.A. 1988 album, then announcing he will be playing his own song, which is in fact the rest of the song "Boyz-n-the-Hood", and the song continues.

Both the original version and the remix versions of "Boyz-n-the-Hood" appear on the 1989 12" maxi-single. They are featured on side A, while the original and remixed versions of "Dopeman" appear on side B.[11]

The song was played on the Up In Smoke Tour. Dr. Dre played this song as a tribute to Eazy-E, with the crowd singing the chorus.

Critical reception and legacy

Jeff Chang describes "Boyz-n-the-Hood" as "an anthem for the fatherless, brotherless, state-assaulted, heavily armed West Coast urban youth" and Eazy-E's rap style as "a deadpan singsong...perhaps as much a result of self-conscious nervousness as hardcore fronting."[12]

Rolling Stone ranks the song as among the 20 greatest West Coast rap songs that preceded N.W.A's Straight Outta Compton. Critic David Drake commented: "It was a day-in-the-life record that was less concerned with commentary or critique than simply conveying a lifestyle."[13] Also writing for Rolling Stone, Brian Hiatt compares the subject matter in "Boyz-n-the-Hood" to "6 in the Mornin'" by Ice-T and "P.S.K. What Does It Mean?" by Schoolly D.[14]

Cover versions

Red Hot Chili Peppers often covered the song live as an intro jam to their own song, "Special Secret Song Inside" on their 1989-90 Mother's Milk tour.

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 Bezel and Cam'ron.[15]

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 this version, "Punk ass trippin in the dead of night", is sung to the tune of The Beatles' "Blackbird": "Blackbird singing in the dead of night." However, some of the words, as well as the "Blackbird" melody, were altered for the music video version of the song.

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.

Underground Memphis rapper Koopsta Knicca of Three 6 Mafia made his own version called "Back In Da Hood".

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."

It is sampled in "Front Back" by UGK[16] (as well as its remix by T.I.),[17] "My 64" by Mike Jones (featuring Bun B, Snoop Dogg and Lil' Eazy-E),[18] "Pojat On Huudeilla" by Eurocrack, "Them Boys Down South" by Big Chance.[19]

Track 8 (Disc 2) on DJ Screw's album "The Legend" has the same song style as Boyz-n-the-Hood.

Yelawolf made a song called "Boyz-n-the-Woodz" for his 2008 mixtape, Ball of Flames: the Ballad of Slick Rick E. Bobby. The song interpolates the original chorus but is made to have a "white trash" feel.


Chart (2015) Peak
Australia (ARIA)[20] 69
US Billboard Hot 100[21] 50
US Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs (Billboard)[22] 18
US Hot Rap Songs (Billboard)[23] 14


  1. ^ "Billboard Hot 100, September 5, 2015".
  2. ^ "N.W.A Finally Cracked Billboard's Hot 100". Vulture. Retrieved .
  3. ^ Keith Caulfield (2015-08-25). "N.W.A Takes Over Charts, Gets First Top 40 Hit on Hot 100". Billboard. Retrieved .
  4. ^ "N.W.A Finally Has Their First Top 40 Hit". SPIN. 2015-08-25. Retrieved .
  5. ^ "NWA charts on Billboard Hot 100's Top 40 for the first time with "Straight Outta Compton" single". Hip Hop Vibe. 2015-08-25. Retrieved .
  6. ^ Zhinga, Zam (2015-08-26). "WebMag: #NWA scores 1st ever Top 40 HIT on #Billboard! Make HUGE strides BACK on the CHARTS!". The Gamutt. Retrieved .
  7. ^ Reeves, Marcus. Somebody Scream!: Rap Music's Rise to Prominence in the Aftershock of Black Power. Faber and Faber, inc. , 2008, p. 98.
  8. ^ "DJ Yella: Eazy E Wasn't a Natural Rapper, He Had to Be Coached". YouTube. 2015-08-19. Retrieved .
  9. ^ Westhoff, Ben (2015-03-17). "20 Years After His Death, Eazy-E Deserves a Spot on Rap's Mount Rushmore". L.A. Weekly. Retrieved .
  10. ^ a b Chang, Jeff (2005). Can't Stop Won't Stop: A History of the Hip-Hop Generation. New York: Picador. p. 304. ISBN 0312425791.
  11. ^ "Eazy-E / N.W.A* - Boyz-N-The-Hood / Dopeman (Vinyl)". Retrieved .
  12. ^ Chang 2005, p. 306.
  13. ^ Drake, David (August 12, 2015). "20 Greatest Pre-'Straight Outta Compton' West Coast Rap Songs: 1. Eazy-E, "Boyz-n-the Hood" (1987)". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 2018.
  14. ^ Hiatt, Brian (August 27, 2015). "N.W.A: American Gangstas". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 2018.
  15. ^ "Certified Gangstas - Jim Jones, The Game, Cam'ron, Lil Eazy". YouTube. Retrieved .
  16. ^ "Featured Content on Myspace". Retrieved .
  17. ^ "Featured Content on Myspace". Retrieved .
  18. ^ "Featured Content on Myspace". Retrieved .
  19. ^ Eurocrack: "Pojat On Huudeilla" on YouTube
  20. ^ Ryan, Gavin (September 12, 2015). "ARIA Singles: Justin Bieber 'What Do You Mean?' Spends Second Week At No 1". Noise11. Retrieved 2015.
  21. ^ "Eazy-E Chart History (Hot 100)". Billboard. Retrieved August 25, 2015.
  22. ^ "Eazy-E Chart History (Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs)". Billboard. Retrieved August 25, 2015.
  23. ^ "Eazy-E Chart History (Hot Rap Songs)". Billboard. Retrieved August 25, 2015.

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