You gotta know what went on!!!

Bio(Courtesy of NWALegacy.com):

ALTHOUGH NOT THE CREATORS OF GANGSTA RAP, N.W.A WAS ITS MOST PROLIFIC PIONEER, PUTTING IT ON THE MAP OF AMERICAN MUSIC WITHOUT THE HELP OF RADIO OR MTV.

THE GROUP WAS FORMED IN COMPTON, CALIFORNIA IN 1986 BY EAZY-E, DR. DRE, AND ICE CUBE. SHORTLY AFTER COMPOSING “BOYS N THE HOOD,” THEY ADDED DJ YELLA, THE D.O.C. AND ARABIAN PRINCE TO THE LINEUP.

N.W.A’S FIRST ALBUM, N.W.A AND THE POSSE, WAS RELEASED IN 1987. THE FOLLOWING YEAR, THE GROUP ADDED THE EDGY VOCALS OF MC REN. ALL OF THE PIECES WERE IN PLACE TO DELIVER THE NOW CLASSIC STRAIGHT OUTTA COMPTON IN 1988.

INTERNAL TENSION RESULTED IN ICE CUBE’S DEPARTURE FROM THE GROUP IN 1989. THE GROUP THEN RELEASED THE 100 MILES AND RUNNIN’ EP IN 1990 BEFORE FOLLOWING IT UP WITHEFIL4ZAGGIN.

DR. DRE LEFT TO BEGIN HIS SOLO CAREER IN 1992, ESSENTIALLY MARKING THE END OF N.W.A. IN ADDITION TO THE SOLO PRESENCE OF ICE CUBE, SOON DR. DRE, EAZY-E, MC REN, AND YELLA WOULD ALL RELEASE SOLO ALBUMS. THE TRAGIC AIDS-RELATED DEATH OF EAZY-E IN 1995 WAS SOMEWHAT OF A CATALYST FOR RECONCILIATION WITHIN THE GROUP; INDEED DR. DRE AND ICE CUBE HAD BOTH MADE AMENDS WITH EAZY BEFORE HE PASSED ON.

THESE DAYS, THE ORIGINAL MEMBERS OF N.W.A ARE FOR THE MOST PART STILL PURSUING SOLO CAREERS, ALTHOUGH AT TIMES THEY HAVE REGROUPED TO PERFORM LIVE WITH THE HELP OF NEXT-GENERATION ACTS SNOOP DOGG AND EMINEM.

THEIR GROUNDBREAKING WORK IN THE FIELD OF HIP-HOP IS FIRMLY ESTABLISHED. THEIR INFLUENCE ON OTHER ARTISTS IS REMARKABLE. N.W.A AND ITS MEMBERS HAVE LEFT US A SUBSTANTIAL BODY OF WORK, A TIMELESS LEGACY TO BE ENJOYED THROUGH THE GENERATIONS.

– This from Wikipedia

N.W.A (‘Niggaz Wit Attitudes, a.k.a. “Niggaz With Attitude”) was a ComptonCalifornia-based hip hop group widely considered one of the seminal acts of the gangsta rap sub-genre. Active from 1986 to 1991, the group endured controversy due to the explicit nature of their lyrics. They were subsequently banned from many mainstream U.S. radio stations and even at times prevented fromtouring – yet the group has still sold over 9 million units in the U.S. alone. Their first album, Straight Outta Compton, marked the beginning of the new gangsta rap era as the production and the social commentary in their lyrics were revolutionary within the genre. Rolling Stone ranked N.W.A 83rd on their list of the “100 Greatest Artists of All Time”. Although largely unknown at the group’s inception, rappers Dr. DreIce CubeEazy-E and MC Ren would all go on to be platinum-selling stars as solo artists.

History:

The group was founded by Compton-based former drug dealer Eazy-E who began Ruthless Records with Jerry Heller. Ruthless released N.W.A. and the Posse in 1987 with Macola Records. N.W.A was still in its developing stages, and only credited on four of the eleven tracks, notably the uncharacteristic electro hop record “Panic Zone”, “8Ball”, and “Dopeman”, which first brought together (on wax) Ice CubeDr. Dre and Eazy-E. Also included was Eazy-E’s solo record “Boyz-n-the Hood”. In 1987, rapper MC Ren joined the group.

Parental Advisory:

N.W.A released Straight Outta Compton in 1988. With its famous opening salvo of three songs, the group reflected the rising anger of the urban youth. “Straight Outta Compton” introduced the group; “Fuck tha Police” protested police brutality and racial profiling, and “Gangsta Gangsta” painted the worldview of the inner-city youth. While the group was later credited with pioneering the burgeoning sub genre of gangsta rap, N.W.A referred to their music as “reality rap”.

Dr. Dre and DJ Yella, as HighPowered Productions, composed the beats for each song, with Dre making occasional rapping appearances. Ice Cube and MC Ren wrote most of the group’s the lyrics, including “Fuck tha Police”, perhaps the group’s most notorious song, which brought them into conflict with various law enforcement agencies. Under pressure from Focus on the Family, Milt Ahlerich, an assistant director of the FBI, sent a letter to Ruthless and its parent company Priority Recordsadvising the rappers that “advocating violence and assault is wrong and we in the law enforcement community take exception to such action”. This letter can still be seen at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland, Ohio. Policemen refused to provide security for the group’s concerts, hurting their plans to tour. Nonetheless, the FBI’s letter only served to draw more publicity to the group. Straight Outta Compton was also one of the first albums to adhere to the new Parental Advisory label scheme, then in its early stages: the label then only consisted of “WARNING: Moderate impact coarse language and/or themes”. However, the taboo nature of N.W.A’s music was the greatest part of its mass appeal. The media coverage compensated for N.W.A’s virtual lack of airplay and their album eventually went double platinum.

One month after Straight Outta Compton, Eazy-E’s solo debut was released. Eazy-Duz-It was dominated by Eazy’s persona – MC Ren, appearing on two songs, was the only guest rapper – but behind the scenes it was a group effort. Music was handled by Dr. Dre and DJ Yella, and the lyrics were largely written by Ren, with contributions from Ice Cube and The D.O.C. The album was another platinum success for Ruthless (in addition to girl group J.J. Fad in 1988 and singer Michel’le in 1989), also going double. 1989 saw the re-issue of Straight Outta Compton on compact disc, and the release of The D.O.C.’s No One Can Do It Better. The album was essentially a collaboration between “The D.O.C. and The Doctor” and notably free of “gangsta rap content”, but culminated in the N.W.A posse cut “The Grand Finalé”. It would be another number one album for the group.

Post Ice Cube:

Ice Cube left in early 1990 over royalty disputes; having written 45% of Straight Outta Compton himself, he felt he was not getting a fair share of the money and profits. He wasted little time putting together his solo debut, 1990’s AmeriKKKa’s Most Wanted, but avoided mentioning his former label mates.

N.W.A’s next release was some five months later, the EP 100 Miles and Runnin’, but would not be equally diplomatic. They alluded to Ice Cube’s departure in its eponymous single, with Dre rapping:

We started with five, but yo, one couldn’t take it. So now it’s four, cuz the fifth couldn’t make it.

The video for the song depicted the remaining members of N.W.A. together in a jail cell, while an Ice Cube look-alike is released. Also heard on the EP (which found its way on Efil4zaggin) was “Real Niggaz”, a full-blown diss on Cube where the remaining members accuse him of cowardice, and question his authenticity, longevity and originality:

How the fuck you think a rapper lasts/With your ass sayin shit, that was said in the past/Yo, be original, your shit is sloppy/Get off the dick, you motherfucking carbon-copy.” and “we started out with too much cargo/so I’m glad we got ridda Benedict Arnold.

The song “100 Miles and Runnin'” is also notable for being Dr. Dre‘s final uptempo record, which had been a common feature of late-80s hip hop.

N.W.A is referenced on Cube’s 1990 EP, Kill at Will, where he name-checks his former group (likely in a mocking manner) on the song “Jackin’ For Beats”. On “I Gotta Say What Up!!!”, Cube gives shout-outs to his rap peers at the time, among themPublic Enemy, the Geto BoysSir Jinx, et cetera. At the end of the track, in what appears to be an on-the-phone interview, Ice Cube is asked, “Since you went solo, whatever happened to your crew?” and the interviewer is abruptly hung up on.

The group’s second full-length release, 1991’s Efil4zaggin (“Niggaz4Life” spelled backwards), re-established the group in the face of Ice Cube’s continued solo success. The album is considered by many Dr. Dre‘s finest production work, and heralded the beginning of the “G-Funk era”. It also showed a clear animosity towards their former member, and derogatory references to Ice Cube are found in several songs. The interlude “A Message to B.A.” echoes the beginning of his song “Turn Off the Radio” from AmeriKKKa’s Most Wanted: in it, Ice Cube is first addressed by the name “Benedict Arnold” (after the infamous traitor of the American Revolution) but then named outright in a torrent of abuse from both the group and its fans: “When we see yo’ ass, we gon’ cut yo’ hair off and fuck you with a broomstick“, promised MC Ren.

The N.W.A-Ice Cube feud eventually escalated. AmeriKKKa’s Most Wanted had avoided direct attacks on N.W.A, but on Death Certificate, Ice Cube’s second full-length, he fired back. He sampled and mocked the “Message to B.A.” skit before embarking on a full-blown tirade, the infamous “No Vaseline“. In a series of verses, Ice Cube addressed the group: ” You lookin’ like straight bozos, I saw it commin’, that’s why I went solo … You got jealous when I got my own company, but I’m a man, and ain’t nobody helpin’ me.” He also responded to “100 Miles and Runnin'”, explaining “I started off with too much cargo, dropped four Niggaz now I’m makin’ all the dough“, and then MC RenDr. Dre and especially Eazy-E individually, using homosexual metaphors to describe their unequal business relationship with Jerry Heller, who becomes the target of very harsh criticism: “Get rid of that devil real simple, put a bullet in his temple … cuz you can’t be the “Niggaz 4 Life” crew, with a white Jew tellin’ you what to do.” The song attracted controversy for its perceived anti-Semitism (the beginning of such allegations involving Ice Cube) for referencing Heller’s religion; the track was omitted from the U.K. release, and later pressings have had the words edited.

The increasingly violent content was reflected in real life —on January 27, 1991, Dr. Dre assaulted Dee Barnes, host of the hip hop show Pump It Up, after its coverage of the N.W.A/Ice Cube beef.

According to Rolling Stone reporter Alan Light:

” He picked her up and “began slamming her face and the right side of her body repeatedly against a wall near the stairway” as his bodyguard held off the crowd. After Dre tried to throw her down the stairs and failed, he began kicking her in the ribs and hands. She escaped and ran into the women’s rest room. Dre followed her and “grabbed her from behind by the hair and proceeded to punch her in the back of the head. “

Despite a lawsuit, the group was unrepentant. MC Ren later stated, “bitch deserved it”—Eazy-E, “yeah, bitch had it coming.” As Dre described it: “People talk all this shit, but you know, somebody fuck with me, I’m gonna fuck with them. I just did it, you know. Ain’t nothing you can do now by talking about it. Besides, it ain’t no big thing—I just threw her through a door.”

In this time as well the demographic which were interested in the group also began to change. Although they still rapped about similar themes of the “gangster life” in Compton and South Central Los Angeles, without Ice Cube they were not as serious and hardly political at all, as they were on Straight Outta Compton.

The End Of N.W.A.:

1991’s Niggaz4Life would be the group’s final album. After Dr. Dre, The D.O.C. and Michel’le’s departure from Ruthless for Death Row Records, in which Eazy-E was allegedly coerced into signing away their contracts (while however retaining a portion of their publishing rights), a bitter rivalry ensued. Dr. Dre began the exchange with Death Row’s first release, 1992’s “Fuck Wit Dre Day (And Everybody’s Celebratin’)“, and its accompanying video featured a character named Sleazy-E who ran around desperately trying to get money. The insults continued on The Chronic with “Bitches Ain’t Shit“. Eazy-E responded in 1993 with the EP It’s On (Dr. Dre) 187um Killa and the tracks “Real Muthaphuckkin G’s” and “It’s On”. Eazy-E accused Dr. Dre of homosexual tendencies, calling him a “she thang”, and the music video for “Real Muthaphuckkin G’s” shows promo pictures of him wearing make-up and a sequined jumpsuit. The photos were from Dr. Dre’s World Class Wreckin’ Cru days, when such fashions were the style of West Coast Electro hop prior to N.W.A’s popularizing of gangsta rap.

After Eazy-E’s AIDS-related death on March 26, 1995, all bad blood between the group ceased. Dr. Dre and Ice Cube would later express their re-evaluated feelings to their old friend on 1999’s “What’s The Difference” and “Chin Check”, 2000’s “Hello”, and 2006’s “Growin’ Up”.

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