Eazy E: What Happened After N.W.A. and the Posse?

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This is the final installment in The Posse Project, a 12-day series in which www.PHXmusic.com caught up with all 12 guys pictured on the cover of N.W.A's first album, N.W.A. and the Posse. Today's post is on Eric "Eazy E" Wright, who passed away 15 years ago today. To read the other installments click here.

Eazy-E

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Also Known As: Eric Wright, Little Rat, The Greatest Gangsta.

Before the Photo: Nearly everyone in the Posse photo was either involved in the Compton club music scene with (a DJ crew, a rap group or an electro-funk outfit) or just a hanger-on. Eazy E was the exception.

A drug dealer, a high school dropout, and a member of the Kelly Park Compton Crips, Eric Wright aspired to get involved in the music business by starting his own record label with the help of Jerry Heller, a down-on-his luck former manager to stars like Elton John and Marvin Gaye. As this photo was taken, the pair's business had just started to build up enough steam to engineer a major coup: N.W.A's jump from Macola Records to the upstart Priority Records where the group would record their true debut album, Straight Outta Compton.

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Dr. Dre: What Happened After N.W.A. and the Posse?

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This is an installment in The Posse Project, a 12-day series in which www.PHXmusic.com catches up with all 12 guys pictured on the cover of N.W.A's first album, N.W.A. and the Posse. Today, we continue with Dr. Dre the superstar rapper/producer who has had the most success since this photo was taken. To read the other installments click here.

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Dr. Dre

Also Known As: Andre Romelle Young, Dr. J

Before the Photo: Dr. Dre was already a notable musician, at least in Los Angeles, prior to his N.W.A days. As "Dr. J," the house DJ at Eve's After Dark (Compton's answer to the Cavern Club) and a member of World Class Wreckin' Cru, Dre had already established himself, landing a regular radio gig and selling an estimated 50,000 copies of the Cru's records through unofficial channels.



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MC Chip: What Happened After N.W.A. and the Posse?

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This is an installment in The Posse Project, a 12-day series in which www.PHXmusic.com catches up with all 12 guys pictured on the cover of N.W.A's first album, N.W.A. and the Posse. Today, we continue with MC Chip, who proved to be the hardest person to track down of anyone in the photo. To read the other installments click here.

MC Chip

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Also Known As: Granville Moton, Chip Dirty, Da Konvicted Felon.

Before the Photo
: Chip was one of MC Ren's best friends and also hung out with Eric "Eazy E" Wright, who grew up around the corner from him.

In The Photo: Along with Ren, Chip actually looks like he's part of N.W.A as the group later looked -- Kings hat, white t-shirt, jeans, black sneakers. Within a few months Chip and Ren's style became the group's style.

"Early, early West Coast hip-hop, before it became gangsta, we were looking for an identity," Chip tells me. "That was just how we, Ren and I, dressed. We were from the C.P.T. so that's how we dressed -- t-shirt, khakis -- we dressed like the G's. That's how the G's did it, so that's how we did it."

After the Photo: Chip went on to record a couple verses for Ren's solo records, including a spot on "One False Move" from Ren's 1993's debut, Shock of the Hour. He's also appeared on "In Da Ghetto" and "Bang Wit Me." He was namechecked in the first verse of Ren's "Olden Times," which is probably the best solo tracks Ren has released recently. (Ren actually mentions several other guys profiled for The Posse Project in the song -- can you pick them out?)

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Ice Cube: What Happened After N.W.A. and the Posse?

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This is an installment in The Posse Project, a 12-day series in which www.PHXmusic.com catches up with all 12 guys pictured on the cover of N.W.A's first album, N.W.A. and the Posse. Today, we continue with Ice Cube, N.W.A's main lyricist who went on to become a superstar solo rapper and later an actor. To read the other installments click here.

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Ice Cube

Also Known As:
O'Shea Jackson, Purple Ice.

Before the Picture: The product of a middle-class nuclear family, Ice Cube started rapping in high school and former a group called C.I.A (Cru' In Action) with Sir Jinx and Kid Disaster. He was tapped by Eric "Eazy E" Wright to write rhymes for Ruthless Records' acts and wrote classics like "Boyz-n-The-Hood" before leaving Los Angeles to attend technical school in Phoenix for a year. Cube earned a degree in architectural drafting at the Phoenix Institute of Technology, a school at the corner of 24th Street and University, south of the airport, which closed in 1993 without being absorbed by another institution. Unfortunately, the only records the state maintains on the school are student files protected by federal privacy laws.

"The rap game wasn't looking too solid at that time so I decided to go ahead and go to school," he was quoted as saying.


In the Photo:
Details about Cube's early career are hard enough to come by without adding on the extra challenge of sorting out the minutia involved in an old record cover. For example, even Joel McIver, the author of Ice Cube: Attitude, a biography of the rapper, has details about the photo wrong.

McIver, a Brit more famous for his best-seller, Justice For All: The Truth About Metallica, writes that "the cover was a generic shot of the band, plus the other rappers who appeared on the record (Dr Rock, the Fila Fresh Crew, Ron-De-Vu - a sometime rapping partner of Eazy-E in his early days - among them) in a typically urban graffiti-wall setting."

Not only is not one of the artists McIver namechecks in the photo, hopefully the past 10 days of The Posse Project have shown this photo is anything but "generic," though it was seemingly designed to appear that way. That's less a reflection on McIver's book, which is very good, than on difficulty tracking these guys down, and on the myths developed around N.W.A in the following years. No one has more to gain from those myths than Ice Cube, who is probably N.W.A's most image-conscious member.

However, if a guy who wrote a 270-page book on Cube can't sort out the rapper's role in the photo, I won't try to do it here. Cube's publicist declined an interview request so his part in The Posse will remain a mystery a little longer.


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Krazy D: What Happened After N.W.A. and the Posse?

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This is an installment in The Posse Project, a 12-day series in which www.PHXmusic.com catches up with all 12 guys pictured on the cover of N.W.A's first album, N.W.A. and the Posse. Today, we continue with Krazy D -- the mysterious Mexican guy in the front row. To read the other installments click here.

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Krazy D

Also Known As: Damon Trujillo, Culo Popper, Crazy D, Krazy Dee.

Before the Photo: Krazy D is from Huntington Park, a heavily Hispanic and very poor suburb southeast of LA. He was a friend of Eric "Eazy E" Wright.

"I met Eazy the same day I met Dre [at Skateland in Compton where Dre's old group the The World Class performed]. Eazy and I became real good friends" Krazy D tells me. "Bottom line, I started selling dope. I was a rapper who became a dope dealer and he was a dope dealer who became a rapper, so we just kind of blended. Eazy and I were connected on the street, and it was pretty much that way even after I left the group."

Krazy D calls himself an "original member" of N.W.A. and has a writing credit on "Panic Zone," N.W.A's first single. He is also namechecked in "8 Ball:" "Krazy D is down and in effect. We make hardcore jams, so fuck respect."

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Candyman: What Happened After N.W.A. and the Posse?

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This is an installment in The Posse Project, a 12-day series in which www.PHXmusic.com catches up with all 12 guys pictured on the cover of N.W.A's first album, N.W.A. and the Posse. Today, we continue with Candyman, who ironically went on to become a one hit wonder with the single "Knockin' Boots." To read the other installments click here.

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Candy Man

Also Known As
: Candell Manson

Before the Photo: If anyone caught a break because of his place on the Posse record cover, it's Candyman. A classmate of Ice Cube during his time at Washington Preparatory he was unaffiliated with the group at the time. DJ Scratch and Sir Jinx report Candell Manson was splitting time between their couches when he caught a ride to the photo shoot, and somehow landed a prime spot in the front row.

Though Candyman ignored requests to be interviewed for The Posse Project, he has talked extensively about the N.W.A. and the Posse cover before, insinuating that there was already a conspiracy behind the group when the photo was taken, contradicting others, who say the success the group's classic lineup had came as a surprise.

"It was kind of top secret, the whole NWA project, they kept it under wraps real well," he told raptalk.net. "They knew that they were on to something big. They knew that they had a concept that we didn't know anything about."

If that's true, why did they put Candyman right up front? We're left to wonder. Later in that interview Candyman claimed he wrote his big single "Knockin' Boots" around that time but at least one actual N.W.A member contradicts that, saying Candyman had no involvement in the music business until he landed on the cover of Posse.

"I know that Candyman, at that time wasn't doing anything," said Arabian Prince.



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Kid Disaster: What Happened After N.W.A. and the Posse?

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This is an installment in The Posse Project, a 12-day series in which www.PHXmusic.com catches up with all 12 guys pictured on the cover of N.W.A's first album, N.W.A. and the Posse. Today, we continue with Kid Disaster, a member of the rap group C.I.A. with Ice Cube and Sir Jinx. To read the other installments click here.

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Kid Disaster

Also Known As: Darryll Johnson, K-Dee

Before the Photo: Kid Disaster hooked up with N.W.A through Purple Ice, later known as Ice Cube, in high school. Disaster was a member of the group C.I.A. with Ice Cube and Sir Jinx (read Jinx's entry in The Posse Project here).

In the Photo: Kid Disaster is just another guy not drinking any of the booze.

"It was funny because everybody brought 40s and no one really drunk 40s back then. We had to make it look like we drank some so we just opened them up and poured a little bit out," he tells me. "We were all virgins, man. We were all virgins that just happened to be in the music business and doing something. We were young, man, we were still in high school. We were just having fun, we never did think it was going to do what it did, and when it did it was like 'wow.'"



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DJ Train: What Happened After N.W.A. and the Posse?

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This is an installment in The Posse Project, a 12-day series in which www.PHXmusic.com catches up with all 12 guys pictured on the cover of N.W.A's first album, N.W.A. and the Posse. Today, we continue with DJ Train, one of two people in this photo who are now deceased. To read previous posts from The Posse Project click here.

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DJ Train

Also Known As: Clarence Lars.

Before the Photo: DJ Train was a childhood friend of MC Ren (read MC Ren's entry in the Posse Project here) and Eazy E who became one of Ruthless Records top DJs, working with J.J. Fad and other acts on the label.

In the Photo: Train is blocked out by the letters Macola stamped on the front.

After the Photo: Train went on to start a group called C.P.O. (Capital Punishment Organization) with rapper Lil' Nation (aka Boss Hogg) and producer Young D. The group's debut, To Hell And Black peaked at #33 on Billboard's hip-hop chart.


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MC Ren: What Happened After N.W.A. and the Posse?

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This is an installment in The Posse Project, a 12-day series in which www.PHXmusic.com catches up with all 12 guys pictured on the cover of N.W.A's first album, N.W.A. and the Posse. Today, we continue with MC Ren, a rapper/writer who joined N.W.A just before the group's meteoric rise and stayed loyal to his childhood friend Eazy E until Eazy's death. To read the other installments click here.

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MC Ren

Also Known As: Lorenzo Jerald Patterson, The Villain in Black.

Before the Photo: Though he's lined up right next to Eazy, Cube, Dre, and Arabian Prince -- rounding out the so-called classic lineup of N.W.A -- Ren was not actually a member of the the group when this record cover was shot, he says. Rather, he was just another solo rapper signed to Eric "Eazy E" Wright's record label.

"I was with Ruthless, signed right out of high school as a solo artist, so I was with Eric every day," Ren tells me. "I was going to do a song for Eric, but I wasn't in the group at that time. He just told me to come up there and get in the picture with him because everybody was having their homies hooked up."

In the Photo: MC Ren, like his friend MC Chip (standing to his left), is wearing the traditional N.W.A uniform, which is a black baseball hat, T-shirt, and jeans.

"If you look at the picture, it don't even look how N.W.A. look, you know what I mean?" Ren says. "If you look on that album cover, you'll see that me and my homie Chip got on the Raiders hats. That was my thing -- the Raiders hats and all that. That was before I even got in the group."


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DJ Scratch: What Happened After N.W.A. and the Posse?

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This is an installment in The Posse Project, a 12-day series in which www.PHXmusic.com catches up with all 12 guys pictured on the cover of N.W.A's first album, N.W.A. and the Posse. Today, we continue with DJ Scratch, a DJ who may have gone on to become an actual member of N.W.A if he had not passed up an opportunity to work with Eazy E out of loyalty to his friend Candyman. To read the other installments click here.

DJ Scratch


Also Known As: LaMont Burnett, King Scratch

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Before the Photo: Scratch was part of a tight-knit clique that includes Sir Jinx, whom he was friends with, as well as Candyman (bottom right in the Posse photo) and Tupac's future producer, the late Johnny "J."

In the Photo: Scratch didn't want to have his photo taken because he hadn't had his hair done properly but was persuaded to jump into the shot by Eazy E, who said Scratch looked like part of the Ruthless Records gang.

"The picture was going to be taken later in the day, and we all had to get Jehri curls done and all that. Dre called early and said, 'We're gonna take the picture,' so I wasn't even going to get in the picture at all. I jumped in the car and I took Jinx and Candyman down there," Scratch tells me. "We went up there, and I wasn't in the picture. I actually had another camera, and I was just snapping them. And Eazy was like, 'Come on, get in the picture. You look Ruthless. Get in the picture.'"

"I look like a fool. I've got on two different types of pants and crazy hair and glasses and all that, but Eazy kept being like, 'You look Ruthless. Come get in it, come get in it.' So I jumped in."

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