Arabian Prince: What Happened After N.W.A. and the Posse?
Also Known As: Mik Lezan, Professor X.
Before the Photo: Arabian Prince was a producer who worked with L.A. acts like Bobby Jimmy & the Critters, which featured Russ Parr, who is now a nationally syndicated morning show host. He was one of Ruthless Records house producers, also working on JJ Fad's hit single "Supersonic." (You've probably heard part of "Supersonic:" Fergie's "Fergalicious" samples the hook).
In the Photo: Arabian Prince is in the middle row, second from the right. He's making no pretense to wear "gangsta" clothing, instead favoring an unbuttoned shirt, tight jeans, and lots of jewelry. He's also got a Jerhi Curl and mustache, a look that always fit his style better than baggy jeans and a Raiders hat.
"I've always been a club cat," Prince tells me. "I want to make people hype, I want to make people party. And when we did the N.W.A thing, I was cool with it because I grew up in the hood as well, but I've never been gangsta. My uncles was gangsta, my cousins was gangsta, and I'm like, 'I'm not really gangsta.'"
After the Photo: Arabian was an actual member of N.W.A. He's pictured on the back of the record with Ice Cube, Dr. Dre and Eazy E, the core of the group at the time. He left the group while Straight Outta Compton was being recorded, releasing a solo record called Brother Arab in 1989.
Like the others who later left the group -- including Cube and Dre -- Arabian cites financial improprieties as the main motivator behind his departure.
"I'm a businessman first and foremost, and I was a solo artist before, so I knew how much money we were making," he says. "And I'm like, 'Well, we just sold a million records,' I knew we were supposed to get X amount of money we weren't getting. And you know what, we've gotta split the money anyway, and we're still not getting paid what we're supposed to get paid. I'm going to go back and do my own thing, and I'll make more money than all ya'll, myself."
Arabian Prince also disliked having to deal with cops after the group drew fire with songs like "Fuck Tha Police."
|Arabian Prince today.|
"Everywhere we went, we had problems with the police, we had problems with other gang members. And it was like, 'It's cool, I'm cool with it, but let me get paid for it.' If I'm not going to get paid, and I'm out here just for the fame, I ain't with it. I need to get paid."
What He's Doing Now: Professor X is Prince's old/new identity. The Professor X stuff, which started before his time in N.W.A, has an electro-funk sound. Arabian Prince is also working on a cartoon/music project called Funky Lil Anime.
"It's gonna be pretty hot, man. It's kinda like an animated Black Eyed Peas kinda thing, where it's gonna be hip-hop and dance with just animated characters."
People Don't Know: A lot of guys in the picture weren't actually making music at the time they posed on the cover.
"A lot of them, they were just homies from the neighborhood and we were like, 'Hey, we taking a photo. Y'all wanna go?' And they were like, 'Yeah, yeah, yeah,'" he says. "It was just a random photo. None of the cats, at that time, were doing anything. And any of those guys who moved on to do music after that . . . It was probably a direct thing from being on that album cover."
In fact, these dudes were put together so randomly that Arabian can't even identify the guy standing on his right.
"The guy next to me, I don't even know."