We are currently making improvements to the Audible site. In an effort to enhance the accessibility experience for our customers, we have created a page to more easily navigate the new experience, available at the web address www.audible.com/access .
Original Gangstas Audiobook

Original Gangstas: The Untold Story of Dr. Dre, Eazy-E, Ice Cube, Tupac Shakur, and the Birth of West Coast Rap

Regular Price:$29.65
  • Membership Details:
    • First book free with 30-day trial
    • $14.95/month thereafter for your choice of 1 new book each month
    • Cancel easily anytime
    • Exchange books you don't like
    • All selected books are yours to keep, even if you cancel
  • - or -

Publisher's Summary

A monumental, revealing narrative history about the legendary group of artists at the forefront of West Coast hip-hop: Eazy-E, Dr. Dre, Ice Cube, Snoop Dogg, and Tupac Shakur.

Amid rising gang violence, the crack epidemic, and police brutality, a group of unlikely voices cut through the chaos of late 1980s Los Angeles: N.W.A. Led by a drug dealer, a glammed-up producer, and a high school kid, N.W.A. gave voice to disenfranchised African Americans across the country. And they quickly redefined pop culture across the world.

Their names remain as popular as ever: Eazy-E, Dr. Dre, and Ice Cube. Dre soon joined forces with Suge Knight to create the combustible Death Row Records, which in turn transformed Snoop Dogg and Tupac Shakur into superstars.

Ben Westhoff explores how this group of artists shifted the balance of hip-hop from New York to Los Angeles. He shows how N.W.A.'s shocking success led to rivalries between members and record labels and eventually a war between East Coast and West Coast factions. In the process hip-hop burst into mainstream America at a time of immense social change and became the most dominant musical movement of the last 30 years. At gangsta rap's peak, two of its biggest names - Tupac and Biggie Smalls - were murdered, leaving the surviving artists to forge peace before the genre annihilated itself.

Featuring extensive investigative reporting, interviews with the principal players, and dozens of never-before-told stories, Original Gangstas is a groundbreaking addition to the history of popular music.

PLEASE NOTE: When you purchase this title, the accompanying reference material will be available in your Library section along with the audio.

©2016 Ben Westhoff (P)2016 Hachette Audio

What the Critics Say

"Westhoff manages to knit together all the group'soutsized personalities, feuds, fist fights and drama into a stunning and entertaining read.... [His] detailed recounting of the long history of Death Row is required reading even for those who may think they know the story." (New York Daily News)

"Insightful... Westhoff's history is especially relevant amid the ongoing Black Lives Matter movement." (Booklist)

"This is the hip-hop book of the season, and it gives readers a thorough and engaging history of the West coast rap scene." (Bookish)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.8 (87 )
5 star
 (73)
4 star
 (11)
3 star
 (1)
2 star
 (1)
1 star
 (1)
Overall
4.7 (82 )
5 star
 (66)
4 star
 (11)
3 star
 (5)
2 star
 (0)
1 star
 (0)
Story
4.7 (82 )
5 star
 (60)
4 star
 (17)
3 star
 (5)
2 star
 (0)
1 star
 (0)
Performance
Sort by:
  •  
    Maxine 11-28-16
    Maxine 11-28-16 Member Since 2014
    HELPFUL VOTES
    4
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    9
    4
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Excellent, rap needs more of these!"
    Would you listen to Original Gangstas again? Why?

    Yes I would, there was so much information to absorb, but it was never overbearing. History and facts are abundant


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    Eazy-E was my first favorite rapper so I suppose you could say he was! Wish there was more on him but Ben did an excellent job of covering him.


    Which character – as performed by JD Jackson – was your favorite?

    JD did a great job with the reading and I feel like his portrayal of Ice T was the most convincing


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    Sure, but I'd probably take breaks to listen to the music the book talks about


    Any additional comments?

    The only criticism I could levy against this book is that it sometimes jumps ahead of itself, talking about things before they happen (in the context of the book) but otherwise this was a fantastic read and I am most impressed by the writers ability to tie in so many different characters so flawlessly! I've purchased 54 books on audible & this may be the best one yet!

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    guyzilla 02-19-17
    guyzilla 02-19-17
    HELPFUL VOTES
    1
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    1
    1
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Very Informative and well told"

    Originally I purchased this because I searched for keyword "Tupac" this was in the results and sounded like it was a good listen for my drive to work. it turned out to be a great story and very informative.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Shedrick Brown 02-15-17 Member Since 2014
    HELPFUL VOTES
    2
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    11
    8
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "A must listen for fans of hip hop and rap"

    Thoroughly enjoyed this book from start to finish!! It will make you go back and listen to the classic west coast rap sings you've enjoyed for decades now, but with a better understanding of the lyrics music and production behind them. Great job by the author

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    San 01-09-17
    San 01-09-17
    HELPFUL VOTES
    1
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    3
    2
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Very great"

    I this was a great book. The author did great job in researching and telling the story. I recommend this book.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    mr shy! vega$ 10-23-16
    mr shy! vega$ 10-23-16 Member Since 2016
    HELPFUL VOTES
    1
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    3
    1
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Great read"

    Great audio book, so much information that I did not know, during certain eras in hip hop.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Amazon Customer 10-15-17 Member Since 2016
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    4
    1
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "more in depth "straight outta Compton""

    I really wasn't sure what to expect going in. it gives lots of background, both personal to the artists and cultural of the world around them. must read for any old school rap fan. helps if you already know some of thhe music but could also be a jumping off point to try something different for fans of only more modern rap

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    SHANE CLAY 09-09-17
    SHANE CLAY 09-09-17 Member Since 2017
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    8
    3
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "GREAT"

    5 STARS I really enjoyed this book. I'll definitely listen to it again in the future.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Nolan Moore 08-10-17
    Nolan Moore 08-10-17 Member Since 2016
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    11
    5
    Overall
    "Amazing listen"

    Must listen, a more detailed version of straight out of Compton. But now, go ahead, do it!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Rachel 07-21-17
    Rachel 07-21-17 Member Since 2015
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    10
    1
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Great history"

    This book is a well researched history of west coast rap. The authors interviewed all the key players, and really dig deep into the lives and relationships of the artists invovled. There is little speculation, and when it occurs, the authors are careful to identify the transition from history to theoretical musings. This story is well read, and very entertaining.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Salaberrios 06-27-17
    Salaberrios 06-27-17
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    1
    1
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Surprisingly good listen"

    I liked this book because it was acutely historically accurate. I lived through it, read the magazines, liner notes in the tape and CDs, MTV, etc. this book is dead-on in my opinion. I too hated Gangster rap for misrepresentation of hip hop, but the perspective given in this book helps with appreciation of the genre. Also gave new detail that was not known to the public. Did a good job balancing the opinions of both the author and the interviewees. I recommend this book to all rap and hiphop fans. My only dislike is the voice change the narrator did to emulate people like Easy, Biggie, Dre, etc. at times he was remarkable because you almost knew who he was emulating. Other times it was funny like when he did ICE T and Michele, and Suge. LOL! Then at times it got plain silly. This book was refreshing balanced perspective and I recommend to all rap and hiphop fans.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

Report Inappropriate Content

If you find this review inappropriate and think it should be removed from our site, let us know. This report will be reviewed by Audible and we will take appropriate action.

Cancel

Thank you.

Your report has been received. It will be reviewed by Audible and we will take appropriate action.