NEW YORK - OCTOBER 30:  (L-R) Rappers MC Ren, DJ Yella, Eazy-E and Dr. Dre of the rap group NWA pose for a portrait in 1991 in New York, New York. DJ Yella is giving the middle-finger. (Photo by Al Pereira/Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images)


Rap Group

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. A biopic called Straight Outta Compton about the group’s rise to fame was released in 2015. It hit No. 1 at the box office in its first week, continuing to dominate in the weeks to follow. (Photo: Al Pereira/Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images)