N.W.A. and the Posse
N.W.A. and the Posse, commonly held as N.W.A's first or debut but neglected or forgotten album—with Straight Outta Compton, released the next year, then being called N.W.A's first album—is a compilation album released on November 6, 1987, by Macola Records, the early distributor for N.W.A's label, Ruthless Records. In April 1994, or roughly five years after the Straight album's August 1988 release and July 1989 platinum certification of 1 million copies sold, the Posse album was certified gold, half as many.
|N.W.A. and the Posse|
|Compilation album by|
|Released||November 6, 1987 (original)|
November 13, 1989 (reissue)
|Singles from N.W.A. And The Posse|
But originally not N.W.A's intended album release, it collects early Ruthless releases that Macola—at that time, the Los Angeles rap scene's main record distributor—had recently distributed for Ruthless, mainly N.W.A's EP titled N.W.A. Macola omitted "A Bitch Iz a Bitch" to favor party, electro sounds, like the "Panic Zone" track, that led the Los Angeles rap scene until N.W.A's Straight album hit. Months after that national, rap landmark's arrival, its own distributor, the new Ruthless distributor, Priority Records, reissued Posse with the "Bitch" track.
Six of the 11 tracks on the Posse album are of N.W.A's membership as it soon crystallized publicly: Eazy-E, Dr. Dre, Ice Cube, Arabian Prince, and DJ Yella. (MC Ren, soon the other public member, was not yet in N.W.A.) One track is of Microphone Mike, later called Myka 9, along with Rappinstine, a traveling faction of the DJ crew World Class Wreckin' Cru, whose core had yielded N.W.A's Dr. Dre and DJ Yella.
Four of the Posse album's tracks are of the Fila Fresh Crew, a rap crew including Doc-T, soon renamed The D.O.C., discovered by one of Dr. Dre's DJ friends visiting Texas. By 1988 a ghostwriter for N.W.A, and by 1989 a solo rapper on its Ruthless Records label, The D.O.C. had reportedly been an N.W.A member. (In a 2015 interview, he states that even in 1989, after a car accident ended his rap career, he remained in N.W.A.)
N.W.A. & EPEdit
The World Class Wreckin' Cru's home base was the Eve After Dark nightclub, just outside of Compton in Los Angeles county. Also performing electro rap, the Wreckin' Cru's core, including Dr. Dre and DJ Yella, led by Grandmaster Lonzo, made the Los Angeles rap scene's first album released under a major record label, by Epic Records under CBS. Otherwise, the Wreckin' Cru was on Lonzo's label Kru-Cut Records, a sublabel of Macola Records, the area's leading distributor of rap records. Meanwhile, Eric Wright formed, in Compton, a new label, Ruthless Records. Wright recruited Dr. Dre, already connected to Macola and Audio Achievements recording studio, to produce records, and they recruited Ice Cube, in a local group called C.I.A., to write lyrics.
Once the rap group H.B.O., or Home Boys Only, signed by Ruthless from New York City, rejected his Ruthless songcrafting team's song "Boyz-n-the-Hood," Wright, persuaded by Dre and Yella, rapped it himself, dubbed Eazy-E. At the single's success, 200,000 copies sold, Eazy formed N.W.A, initially a nebulous group of musical associates. At N.W.A's core, there were three—in his own words, Eazy the "conceptualizer," Cube the "lyricizer," and Dre the "musicalizer"—supported by producers Yella and Arabian Prince. The success of N.W.A's first three releases—"Boyz-n-the-Hood," "Dope Man," and "8 Ball"—prompted Eazy's call for an EP, distributed by Macola. The EP's five songs included Dre and Cube on "A Bitch Iz a Bitch," Eazy on "Fat Girl," and Arabian's production "Panic Zone."
Photo & PosseEdit
For the EP's cover photo, Eazy summoned N.W.A's members, and maybe some of its circle, to pose for the camera in a Hollywood alleyway near Macola's office. Reportedly, some who were photographed wound up there by merely driving or accompanying another. And future N.W.A rapper MC Ren, living near Eazy, although photographed, was not yet in N.W.A. On the other hand, DJ Yella, although already active within N.W.A, is absent. In any case, soon after the EP, titled N.W.A.—having the third period, which Ruthless would later drop—Ruthless switched distribution to the indie giant Priority Records, based in New York City.
Exploiting the moment, Don MacMillan of Macola, reusing the photo, and adding more Ruthless songs, created a compilation album, N.W.A. and the Posse. Still, some photographed are not on the LP's songs, whereas those in the added songs are not photographed. In August 1988, N.W.A's new distributor, Priority, released Straight Outta Compton—N.W.A's first intended album release, first authorized debut album—with two tracks remixing ones on Posse, "8 Ball" and "Dopeman." And in 1989, Priority reissued Posse, if replacing the Microphone Mike & Rappinstine track "Scream" in favor, after all, of N.W.A's track "A Bitch Iz a Bitch," featuring Rappinstine.
|3.||"Dunk the Funk"||Fila Fresh Crew||5:01|
|4.||"Scream"||M. "Microphone Mike" Troy, Rappinstine||3:18|
|5.||"Drink It Up"||Fila Fresh Crew||4:45|
|6.||"Panic Zone"||N.W.A., Krazy Dee||3:33|
|7.||"L.A. Is the Place"||Eazy-E, Ron-De-Vu||4:31|
|8.||"Dope Man"||N.W.A., Krazy Dee||6:16|
|9.||"Tuffest Man Alive"||Fila Fresh Crew||2:16|
|10.||"Fat Girl"||Eazy-E, Ron-De-Vu||2:45|
|11.||"3 the Hard Way"||Fila Fresh Crew||4:10|
|United States (RIAA)||Gold||500,000^|
*sales figures based on certification alone
- Stephen Thomas Erlewine, "N.W.A: Biography", AllMusic.com, Netaktion LLC, visited 26 Apr 2020.
- Alex Henderson, "N.W.A: N.W.A and the Posse", AllMusic.com, Netaktion LLC, visited 26 Apr 2020.
- Jerry Heller with Gil Reavill, Ruthless: A Memoir (New York: Simon Spotlight Entertainment, 2007).
- Robin D. G. Kelley, "Kickin' reality, kickin' ballistics: Gangsta rap and postindustrial Los Angeles", in William Eric Perkins, ed., Droppin' Science: Critical Essays on Rap Music and Hip Hop Culture (Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 1996), p 128.
- Gold & Platinum search, "N.W.A. & the Posse", Recording Industry Association of America website, visited 26 Apr 2020.
- David Diallo, "Dr. Dre and Snoop Dogg", in Mickey Hess, ed., Icons of Hip Hop: An Encyclopedia of the Movement, Music, and Culture (Santa Barbara, CA: Greenwood Press, 2007), pp 321–322.
- Ronald "Money B" Brooks, interviewer, Arabian Prince, interviewee, The Goin Way Back Show Stream @ YouTube, 9 Oct 2015, 27:45 mark. With the N.W.A. EP's cover photo displayed, Arabian explains the Posse LP's origin. Soon, his local contemporary, The Unknown DJ, by phone, emphasizes Macola's lead in the early Los Angeles rap scene's record distribution.
- Gerrick D. Kennedy, Parental Discretion Is Advised: The Rise of N.W.A and the Dawn of Gangsta Rap (New York: Atria Books, 2017), pp 85–86.
- Vlad Lyubovny, interviewer, "The D.O.C. speaks on "No Vaseline" & his friendship w/ Ice Cube", VladTV–DJVlad @ YouTube, 4 Dec 2015.
- David Diallo, ch 10 "From electro-rap to G-funk: A social history of rap music in Los Angeles and Compton, California", in Mickey Hess, ed., Hip Hop in America: A Regional Guide, Volume 1: East Coast and West Coast (Santa Barbara, CA: Greenwood Press, 2010), p 233 on World Class Wreckin' Cru, pp 234–238 on N.W.A.
- Jerry Heller w/ Gil Reavill, Ruthless: A Memoir (New York: Simon Spotlight Entertainment, 2007), pp 67–69.
- Dre, Yella, Arabian, and Eazy assembled at the Audio Achievements studio, in Torrance, California, to present a rough cut, just the beats by Dre and Yella, and the lyrics in Cube's notebook, to H.B.O. [J Heller w/ Gil Reavill, Ruthless: A Memoir (Simon Spotlight, 2007), p 69].
- Jerry Heller w/ Gil Reavill, Ruthless: A Memoir (New York: Simon Spotlight Entertainment, 2007), p 103.
- Martin Cizmar, "Whatever happened to N.W.A's posse?", LA Weekly, 6 May 2010.
- In the photo, the five, eventual N.W.A members are side by side in the center: Eazy-E, Dr. Dre, Ice Cube, Arabian Prince, and MC Ren. Otherwise, there are seven others. Two of them had already formed, with Ice Cube, the rap trio C.I.A.: Anthony "Sir Jinx" Wheaton and Darryll "Kid Disaster" or "K-Dee" Johnson. Another two were in another rap group, CPO: Clarence "DJ Train" Lars and Granville "MC Chip" Moton. Also, there are LaMont "DJ Scratch" or "King Scratch" Burnett, Candell "Candyman" Manson, and Damon "Krazy D" Trujillo. For backstory and developments on each, see Martin Cizmar, "N.W.A. and the Posse: Where are the 12 guys from N.W.A's first album cover now?", Phoenix New Times, 15 Mar 2010.
- Priority had distributed Run-DMC, would distribute for Rap-A-Lot Records, which had the gangsta rappers the Geto Boys, and would distribute Ice Cube's solo albums.
- "American album certifications – N.W.A. & The Posse – N.W.A. and the Posse". Recording Industry Association of America. If necessary, click Advanced, then click Format, then select Album, then click SEARCH.
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