This is one of the coolest things I’ve read in a long, long time. Martin Cizmar at the Phoenix New Times has written The Posse Project, wherein he has researched the “the 12 Guys from N.W.A’s First Album Cover” and reports who they were, how they ended up on the cover, and where they are now.
Not only does the cover of N.W.A’s first album not look anything like the standard image of “The World’s Most Dangerous Group,” it’s such an odd mix of styles it’s hard to believe the guys posing together are any sort of group at all. Truly, the cover of N.W.A. and the Posse is a puzzle.
This picture is also, however, a perfect snapshot of one of the most important scenes in the history of popular music. Stare for a moment and you can see a myth about to be born. That myth, Gangsta Rap, enabled four guys in this picture — Dr. Dre, Ice Cube, MC Ren, and Eazy E — to titillate and terrify America as Compton-based rap group Niggaz With Attitude.
We all should be able to recognize Ice Cube, Dr. Dre, Eazy-E, and MC Ren, but what about the other eight guys? Well, thanks to this fascinating research, you can read all about them. (And by the way, Cizmar’s profiles of the four you know are well worth reading, so click through!)
• Arabian Prince: “Eazy was the only one in the hood who was really a real gangsta — doing the drug thing, doing everything else. All the rest of us were just DJs. We were producers, we had done a lot of records, and that’s how the whole thing came together. Cube wasn’t actually doing anything. He was in school [in Phoenix] until we brought him back. Ren was just Eazy’s boy; he lived down the street from him.”
• Sir Jinx: “When we went on the road they used to change Eazy’s eight ball to apple juice. He’d sit there and down it on stage and the crowd would go berzerk, but Eazy didn’t even drink. None of us drank.”
• DJ Scratch: “The picture was going to be taken later in the day, and we all had to get Jehri curls done and all that.”
• DJ Train – Died in a house fire in 1994 at age 23.
• Kid Disaster: “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. We were all virgins, man.”
• Krazy D: “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.”
• MC Chip: “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.”