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Location:Compton, CA
Genre:Gangsta Rap
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N.W.A, an American hip-hop group from Compton, California, gained popularity with their controversial music that included explicit references to gang life, drugs, sex, and distaste for authority, especially the police. The core members were Eazy-E (Eric Wright; b. September 7, 1964, Compton, California, U.S.—d. March 26, 1995, Los Angeles), Dr. Dre (Andre Young; b. February 18, 1965, Compton, California), Ice Cube (O'Shea Jackson; b. June 15, 1969, Los Angeles, California), MC Ren (Lorenzo Patterson; b. June 14, 1969, Compton, California), and DJ Yella (Antoine Carraby; b. December 11, 1961, Compton, California). Later members included Arabian Prince (Kim Nazel; b. June 17, 1965, Inglewood, California) and The D.O.C. (Tracy Curry; b. June 10, 1968, Dallas, Texas). The group is widely credited with popularizing the gangsta rap genre and increasing the prominence of the West Coast hip-hop scene.

N.W.A was assembled by Compton-based Eazy-E, who co-founded Ruthless Records with Jerry Heller. Eazy-E sought an introduction to Steve Yano, who was initially uninterested but later impressed by Eazy-E's persistence and arranged a meeting with Dr. Dre. Initially, N.W.A consisted of Eazy-E and Dr. Dre. Together with fellow producer Arabian Prince, Ice Cube was added after starting out as a rapper for the group C.I.A. Dre later brought DJ Yella on board as well.

Dre and Yella were previously members of the World Class Wreckin' Cru as DJs and producers. Ruthless released the single "Panic Zone" in 1987 with Macola Records, which was later included on the compilation album N.W.A. and the Posse. N.W.A was still in its developing stages, and is only credited on three of the eleven tracks, notably the uncharacteristic record "Panic Zone", "8-Ball", and "Dopeman", which marked the first collaboration of Arabian Prince, DJ Yella, Dr. Dre, and Ice Cube. Mexican rapper Krazy-Dee co-wrote "Panic Zone", originally titled "Hispanic Zone", but the title was later changed based on Dr. Dre's advice that the word "hispanic" would hinder sales. Also included was Eazy-E's solo track "Boyz-n-the-Hood".