Released in the 1988 album Straight Outta Compton by N.W.A, “Express Yourself” urges people to emerge out of their closed off attitude, also calling out those who simply follow trends instead of being original.
The concept Dr. Dre was trying to transmit was clear: be original and consistent with who you perceive yourself to be. MC Ren, one of the members, spoke on the matter on an interview a year after the song was released, “they cuss at home and in public they’re somebody else.”
This had been Dr. Dre’s first solo track of his career, which is why in the beginning of the song, Ice Cube says, “Man, you’ve been doin’ all this dope producing, but you ain’t had a chance to show ’em what time it is.”
It was evident Dre had no problem at all with lyricism. They were clever, synced the flow of the beat, and had a nice concept. The captivating subject matter made the listener want to pay even more attention to the lyrics, especially because of the claim Dre made about not smoking marijuana since “it’s known to give a brother brain damage.”
“The World’s Most Dangerous Group” certainly delivered with “Express Yourself” which was a sudden, but pleasant switch up from the usual topics of criminal gang violence and drugs.