Niggaz4Life (also known as Efil4zaggin as per album cover art, stylized in all caps and horizontally mirrored) is the second and final studio album by gangsta rap group N.W.A, released on May 28, 1991. It was their final album, as the group disbanded later the same year after the departure of Dr. Dre and songwriter The D.O.C. to form Death Row Records; the album features only four members of the original line-up, as Arabian Prince and Ice Cube had already left the group in 1988 and 1989 respectively. Niggaz4Life debuted at number 2 on the Billboard 200, but in its second week peaked at number 1.[2]

A crime scene of a homicide with the bodies covered with white sheets near the curb. The members of NWA are seen as ghosts above their respective bodies. The album's title "NIGGAZ4LIFE" is seen in a black rectangle and is horizontally mirrored.
Studio album by
ReleasedMay 28, 1991 (1991-05-28)
StudioAudio Achievements (Torrance, California)
N.W.A chronology
100 Miles and Runnin'
Greatest Hits
Singles from Niggaz4Life
  1. "Alwayz into Somethin'"
    Released: April 15, 1991
  2. "Appetite for Destruction"
    Released: May 18, 1991
  3. "The Dayz of Wayback"
    Released: 1991

In 1992, several months after the release of the album, N.W.A released a video named Niggaz4Life: The Only Home Video, which chronicled the making of the album and its three music videos, "Alwayz into Somethin'", "Appetite for Destruction" and "Approach to Danger".

In 2002, the CD was re-released in two formats. Both had the EP 100 Miles and Runnin' appended to the end of the original track listing, but one was available with a DVD copy of Niggaz4Life: The Only Home Video.

In comparison to its predecessor, the album was also heavier on misogyny, for which it became notorious. The songs on the album's second half featured more profanity, sexist themes, and references to various sexual acts, provoking the ire of the PMRC,[3] liberal and conservative politicians, and civil rights activist C. Delores Tucker.[4]

Critical reception edit

Upon release, Niggaz4Life generally polarized music critics, as many were divided over its lyrics especially in the 2nd half of the album. The Source declared it one of their albums of the year but more mainstream publications like Rolling Stone condemned the album. In a two star review (out of five), Rolling Stone critic Arion Berger attacked Niggaz4Life as "so hateful toward women, and in such a pathetic and sleazy manner, that it's simply tiresome."[5] Mark Blackwell, of Spin magazine, similarly opined in his interview of N.W.A. that Niggaz4Life "wears thin pretty fast. The main problem is that the old 'niggas' and 'bitches' thing – whether offensive or not – is getting a little tired" before conceding that "Dre and Yella's production is peerless."[6]

In a negative review, Newsweek deemed the album "by N.W.A standards, is a mediocre work, a retreat from cinematic storytelling into simple punk bluster."[7] Time wrote, "N.W.A. raps nasty and righteous, with real ghetto heat, and doesn't give an inch," calling the album "incendiary" and "grotesque."[2]

Later DJ Yella said: “I do like the second album better than the first. The first one had more hits, but production-wise I like this one better. It would have been great if Cube would have got on that album. But it sounds better, we put more into it.”[8]

The album received more positive reviews since then, especially for the production. Tom Doggett from Rap Reviews said: "Niggaz4life is a frightening album, jammed with explosive beats, visceral skits, and inciting rhymes. There is an overwhelming sense of sensual stimulation that overcomes the room when this album is playing. The eighteen tracks move by effortlessly, jumping from shootout skits to Ice Cube disses to revolting accounts of sexual acts. Even if you are turned off, it is impossible to deny the kinetic force that exudes from this album."[9]

Jesse Ducker from Albumism also praised the production and said: "Efil4zaggin stands as a very dope, albeit flawed, piece of work."[10]

Accolades edit

Professional ratings
Review scores
AllMusic     [11]
Blender     [12]
Robert ChristgauC−[13]
Los Angeles Times     [15]
Rolling Stone     [17]
The Washington Post(favorable)[18]
  • Ranked #1 in The Source's Top 15 Albums of 1991 list in 1991[19]
  • Ranked #7 in MTV's Greatest Hip-Hop Albums of All Time list in 2005[20]

"It seemed like the craziest shit in existence to me. When I heard Eazy-E do a country and western song [Automobile], I couldn't believe the audacity and creative genius. Then, when I looked at the album cover and they were all dead, with their spirits flying out of their bodies, and the title was printed backwards so you had to put it up to the mirror to read it the right way, I said, 'These motherfuckers are crazy!'" – Busta Rhymes[21]

Commercial performance edit

The album debuted at number 2 on the US Billboard Top LPs chart.[22] It went on to top the Billboard 200, gaining 954,000 sales in its first week becoming the first album by a rap group to top the chart.[23]

Track listing edit

Songwriting credits are adapted from the CD liner notes.[24] All songs produced by Dr. Dre and DJ Yella.[24]

1."Prelude"MC RenMC Ren, Above The Law2:27
2."Real Niggaz Don't Die"MC Ren, The D.O.C.MC Ren, Dr. Dre, Eazy-E3:40
3."Niggaz 4 Life"MC Ren, The D.O.C.MC Ren, Dr. Dre, Eazy-E4:58
4."Protest" (Interlude)  0:53
5."Appetite for Destruction"MC Ren, The D.O.C., KokaneMC Ren, Dr. Dre, Eazy-E3:22
6."Don't Drink That Wine" (Interlude)  1:07
7."Alwayz into Somethin'"MC Ren, The D.O.C.MC Ren, Dr. Dre4:24
8."Message to B.A." (Interlude)  0:48
9."Real Niggaz"MC Ren, The D.O.C.MC Ren, Dr. Dre, Eazy-E4:27
10."To Kill a Hooker" (Interlude)  0:50
11."One Less Bitch"MC Ren, The D.O.C.MC Ren, Dr. Dre4:47
12."Findum, Fuckum & Flee"MC Ren, The D.O.C., CPOMC Ren, Dr. Dre, Eazy-E3:55
13."Automobile"Eazy-EDr. Dre, Eazy-E3:15
14."She Swallowed It"MC RenMC Ren4:13
15."I'd Rather Fuck You"Eazy-EEazy-E3:57
16."Approach to Danger"MC Ren, Eazy-EMC Ren, Dr. Dre, Eazy-E2:45
17."1-900-2-Compton" (Interlude) Warren G1:27
18."The Dayz of Wayback"MC Ren, The D.O.C.MC Ren, Dr. Dre4:15
2002 bonus tracks: 100 Miles and Runnin'
19."100 Miles and Runnin'"MC Ren, The D.O.C., Cold 187umMC Ren, Dr. Dre, Eazy-E4:32
20."Just Don't Bite It"MC RenMC Ren5:28
21."Sa Prize (Part 2)"MC RenMC Ren, Dr. Dre, Eazy-E5:59
22."Kamurshol"MC RenMC Ren, Dr. Dre, Eazy-E1:56

Sample credits edit

Appearances edit

Artist Notes
MC Ren performs on 11 tracks
Dr. Dre performs on 9 tracks
Eazy-E performs on 9 tracks
DJ Yella performs on 1 track

Charts edit

Certifications edit

Region Certification Certified units/sales
United Kingdom (BPI)[30]
sales since 2002
Silver 60,000
United States (RIAA)[31] Platinum 1,000,000^

^ Shipments figures based on certification alone.
Sales+streaming figures based on certification alone.

References edit

  1. ^ a b c d e Namikas, Michael (July 28, 2015). "efiL4zaggiN: N.W.A.'s 4gotten Masterpiece". HipHopDX. Archived from the original on October 16, 2017. Retrieved October 15, 2017.
  2. ^ a b Cocks, J.; Donnelly, S.B. (July 1, 1991). "A nasty jolt for the top pops". TIME Magazine.
  3. ^ "Popular music restrictions in america in the late 1980s/early 90s (1991)". Ed Cox. June 9, 1990. Archived from the original on March 28, 2016. Retrieved May 19, 2016.
  4. ^ "Gangsta Misogyny by Edward G. Armstrong - JCJPC, Volume 8, Issue 2". April 19, 1998. Archived from the original on September 20, 2012. Retrieved May 19, 2016.
  5. ^ "Niggaz4life". Rolling Stone. July 11, 1991.
  6. ^ "SPIN". September 1991.
  7. ^ Leland, J.; Buckley, L. (July 1, 1991). "Number one with a bullet". Newsweek.
  8. ^ "N.W.A Reflect on 'Efil4zaggin,' 1991's Most Dangerous Album". Rolling Stone. May 29, 2016.
  9. ^ "N.W.A. :: Efil4Zaggin :: Ruthless/Priority Records".
  10. ^ "Revisiting N.W.A's Second & Final Studio Album 'Efil4zaggin' (1991) | Tribute". May 26, 2021.
  11. ^ Jason Birchmeier (May 28, 1991). "Niggaz4life - N.W.A | Songs, Reviews, Credits". AllMusic. Archived from the original on September 24, 2016. Retrieved May 19, 2016.
  12. ^ Chairman Mao. "N.W.A: Straight Outta Compton/Efil4Zaggin". Blender. New York. Archived from the original on April 19, 2010. Retrieved August 19, 2015.
  13. ^ "Robert Christgau: CG: N.W.A". Archived from the original on March 3, 2016. Retrieved May 19, 2016.
  14. ^ "N.W.A." Pitchfork. October 2, 2003. Archived from the original on May 30, 2016. Retrieved May 19, 2016.
  15. ^ Gold, Jonathan (June 2, 1991). "Cringe a Minute (Again) With N.W.A". Los Angeles Times. Archived from the original on December 29, 2016. Retrieved December 29, 2016.
  16. ^ "N.W.A. :: Efil4Zaggin :: Ruthless/Priority Records". Archived from the original on April 4, 2016. Retrieved May 19, 2016.
  17. ^ "N.W.A.: Niggaz4life : Music Reviews : Rolling Stone". Rolling Stone. Archived from the original on October 1, 2007. Retrieved September 4, 2007.
  18. ^ "STRONG WORDS FROM ICE-T AND N.W.A." Archived from the original on June 24, 2016. Retrieved January 1, 2017.
  19. ^ "Rap Research Archive: The Source Awards for 1991". April 4, 2010. Archived from the original on May 25, 2019. Retrieved May 25, 2019.
  20. ^ "". MTV. Archived from the original on December 15, 2006. Retrieved December 20, 2016.
  21. ^ Batey, Angus (October 2009). "My record collection – Busta Rhymes". Q. p. 46.
  22. ^ Brandon Gaille (February 5, 2015). "25 Good Hip Hop Demographics". Archived from the original on May 15, 2016. Retrieved May 19, 2016.
  23. ^ Thompson, Derek (May 8, 2015). "1991: The Most Important Year in Pop-Music History". The Atlantic. Retrieved July 7, 2021.
  24. ^ a b Efil4Zaggin [inside sleeve] (Media notes). N.W.A. Ruthless Records. 261 464.{{cite AV media notes}}: CS1 maint: others in cite AV media (notes) (link)
  25. ^ "Official Albums Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company. Retrieved October 19, 2019.
  26. ^ "N.W.A Chart History (Billboard 200)". Billboard. Retrieved May 4, 2021.
  27. ^ "N.W.A Chart History (Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums)". Billboard. Retrieved October 19, 2019.
  28. ^ "Top Billboard 200 Albums – Year-End 1991". Billboard. Retrieved May 4, 2021.
  29. ^ "Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums – Year-End 1991". Billboard. Retrieved May 4, 2021.
  30. ^ "British album certifications – Nwa – Efil4zaggin". British Phonographic Industry. Retrieved January 6, 2021.
  31. ^ "American album certifications – N.W.A. – EFIL4ZAGGIN". Recording Industry Association of America. Retrieved September 7, 2020.

External links edit