Niggaz Wit Attitudes (NWA) (1987-1991)

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Niggaz Wit Attitudes, also known as NWA, is a West Coast Hip-Hop group who became one of the most influential groups in Hip-Hop history. NWA included Eric “Eazy-E” Wright, Andre Ronell “Dr. Dre” Young, O’Shea “Ice Cube” Jackson Sr, Lorenzo “MC Ren” Jerald Patterson, Antoine “DJ Yella” Carraby, and Kim “Arabian Prince” Renard Nazel. The group was formed in 1987 after Wright founded the music record label Ruthless Records with Gerald Elliot “Jerry” Heller. Originally, NWA consisted of Eazy-E and Dr. Dre, but Arabian Prince, Ice Cube, and DJ Yella also joined the group.

NWA released their debut studio album called Straight Outta Compton in 1988. It featured the singles “Straight Outta Compton,” “Fuck the Police,” “Gangsta Gangsta,” and “Express Yourself.” The album was certified triple platinum selling over three million units and became the first gangsta rap album in Hip-Hop history to go platinum.  Despite the album’s success, the songs were controversial as they took on topics such as police brutality and inner city violence. The controversial lyrics led the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) to send a warning letter to Ruthless Records about the album’s content.

In 1989, Ice Cube left the group over royalty disputes with Eazy-E and Heller. Ice Cube claims that he was not getting his fair share of the profits for writing most of the lyrics for the Straight Outta Compton album. Jackson would go on to have a successful music and movie career including starring in the films America Most Wanted (1990) and Boyz in the Hood (1991). Jackson’s departure from the group would begin a rap feud with NWA including numerous insults on rap tracks including “100 Miles and Runnin” and “No Vaseline.”

In 1991, NWA release their second album, Niggaz4Life that feature singles including “Alwayz into Something,” “Appetite For Destruction,” and “The Dayz of Wayback.” The album was certified platinum selling over million units. Despite its success, this would be the group final studio album.

After the release of Niggaz4Life, Young left Ruthless Records and established Death Row Records with Marion “Suge” Knight. Other NWA members also pursued solo careers. Controversy would soon occur when Dr. Dre and Eazy-E started a rap feud with both artists trading insults on rap songs including “Fuck Wit Dre Day (And Everybody’s Celebration),” and “Real Muthaphuckkin G’s.” The feud continued until Eazy-E died of AIDS on March 26, 1995 at the age of 30. In 1999 the group reunited and released several songs together including “Chin Check” and “Hello.” The group made few reunions over the years recording songs but never releasing another studio album.

In 2015, the film Straight Outta Compton was released and promoted as a biographical drama about NWA. The film starred Ice Cube’s son O’Shea “OMG” Jackson Jr, Corey Hawkins, and Jason Mitchell. In 2016, NWA was introduction in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.