In the pantheon of pioneering rap groups, the Los Angeles-based collective known as Niggas With Attitudes is one of the most influential hip hop acts in the history of the genre. Assembled by former crack dealer-turned-music-entrepreneur Eazy-E (Eric Wright), N.W.A consisted of producer Dr. Dre (Andre Romelle Young), DJ Yella (Antoine Carraby), and rapper’s Ice Cube (O'Shea Jackson), MC Ren (Lorenzo Jerald Patterson) and Eazy-E. Their 1988 LP Straight Outta Compton
went double platinum with virtually no radio or video support. The album not only turned the West Coast into a major force in commercial hip hop music but it overwhelmingly popularized the hip hop subgenre “gangsta rap.” Before the release of their album Efill4zaggin
in 1991, things began to fall apart for the group. Ice Cube departed after feeling he wasn’t justly compensated for writing much of Straight Outta Compton
’s lyrics. And, eventually, Dre would also leave because of a financial dispute, later forming Death Row Records. Eazy-E would die of AIDS in 1995.