The Rise of Hip Hop and the Black Flight

By the end of the 1960s - and the Watts Uprising - African-Americans had abandoned the search for a racial Promise Land and had come to terms with the near impossible task of overcoming the physical, philosophical and economical barriers created by centuries of racism. For many African-Americans the West had become the last refuge of a journey towards freedom.

Faced with literally picking up the pieces of a broken neighborhood, African-Americans in South Los Angeles, Compton and beyond began to lose hope. This sentiment was reflected in the urban decay, poverty and continued violence occurring in their neighborhoods. Although issues of urban renewal were of great interest to the President Lyndon Johnson, the election of Richard Nixon in 1968 dismantled virtually every effort to fight the "War on Poverty." Young African-Americans felt defeated and began to informally construct their own economic and social rules, replacing the missing institutional security that was once promised by the city governments.

In 1988, the Compton based hip-hop band N.W.A, also known as Niggaz With Attitude released their first studio album Straight Outta Compton which revolutionized American pop-culture by creating what they called "reality rap:" a hyper-real account of the American inner-city, police brutality and violence.

Compton in the Late 70's
"In 1971 Compton was a unique place - there where over one thousand black businesses in the city. Now it is all gone."


Gang Cop
"In Compton every geographical area was claimed by a gang. Richland Farms was claimed by the Farmdog Crips."


Pop Culture & Compton's Image
Compton's proximity to the entertainment industry transformed the inner-city experience.


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