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N.W.A. Members: Where Are They Now?

January 3rd, 2024

N.W.A. first hit the music scene in 1987, before cementing themselves as a landmark hip hop group. Together, the six young Compton natives who composed the group redefined an era and popularized the gangsta rap sub-genre. N.W.A.’s greatest hits such as “F*** Tha Police,” “Straight Outta Compton,” and “Dopeman” all serve as political statements. The group’s music enlightened middle America to the plight of black Americans in inner cities across the country. Though several of the surviving presenters have reunited since the group parted ways, N.W.A. is largely considered to have ended as a group with the 1995 passing of Eazy-E, leaving many fans to wonder what the remaining presenters have been doing in the decades since.

Eazy-E

Eric Wright, best known by his stage name Eazy-E, was a founding member of N.W.A. alongside Dr. Dre. Under the tutelage of record producer Jerry Heller, Eazy started the record label Ruthless Records. Unfortunately, Eazy-E found himself at the center of a bitter rivalry with his fellow N.W.A. presenters in 1991. The beef began over payment and contract rights, with several key presenters claiming the record label had taken advantage of them. After several years of throwing shots back and forth at each other on wax, the presenters of N.W.A. buried the hatchet after learning of Eazy-E’s AIDS diagnosis in 1995. Eazy tragically passed away at the age of 30 from complications relating to his illness on March 26th, 1995.

Read More: “The Mysterious Death Of Eazy-E” Docuseries Investigates Rap Icon’s Untimely Death

Dr. Dre

Perhaps the most prolific N.W.A. member of them all, Dr. Dre has established himself in the modern era as one of rap’s few billionaires. The mogul went on to start Aftermath Entertainment, signing and producing such mega stars as Eminem and 50 Cent. Dr. Dre has also served as something of a musical mentor to rappers such as Kendrick Lamar, Anderson .Paak, The Game, and many others. In 2006 Dre collaborated with his partner Jimmy Iovine to bring Beats headphones to market. The Beats brand expanded into a line of high-quality speakers and headsets, before selling the technology to Apple. The 2014 sale went through for $3.4 billion.

In addition to his extracurricular ventures, Dr. Dre headlined the Super Bowl LVI halftime show in 2022. In 2023, Dr. Dre was presented with the inaugural Dr. Dre Global Impact Award at the 65th Annual Grammys. The award was created to celebrate excellence and longevity in rap while recognizing the 50th anniversary of the genre. Dr. Dre served as a producer on the 2015 N.W.A. biopic Straight Outta Compton alongside Ice Cube.

Ice Cube

Ice Cube has become a household name in the decades following the demise of N.W.A., with a prolific screen acting career that rivals the success of his extensive solo music catalog. Since leaving N.W.A. to go solo in 1989, Ice Cube has released 10 solo albums, 3 collaborative efforts, and racked up countless appearances on film and television soundtracks. Ice Cube has also gone on to establish an incredible career in film and television.

Cube has amassed nearly 100 credits on IMDb, including half a dozen projects in various stages of active production. Alongside Dr. Dre, Ice Cube produced the 2015 film Straight Outta Compton, which follows the group’s rise and fall. The film even featured Cube’s eldest son, O’Shea Jackson Jr. as a young version of himself. O’Shea Jr. has gone on to lead several feature films since, with Straight Outta Compton serving as his first feature appearance. Ice Cube has also embarked into the world of sports as the CEO and co-founder of the Big3 basketball league.

Read More: Ice Cube Asks People To Stop Calling Him A “GOAT”

DJ Yella

Though he is often forgotten due to his lack of vocal performance in most N.W.A. tracks, DJ Yella served as a vital element of the group’s success. Like Dr. Dre and Ice Cube, Yella consulted on the set of Straight Outta Compton. Yella provided invaluable insight into the formation and history of the group for the film. When N.W.A. split up, DJ Yella served as one of the few presenters who didn’t get involved with the beef. Yella remained signed to Ruthless Records, producing music for Eazy-E and other label artists.

After releasing a solo album in 1996, Yella retired from music to pursue a career directing and producing adult films. According to interviews with the former N.W.A. DJ, he has helmed over 300 films of this nature. DJ Yella returned to his position behind the boards in 2011 when he began to work on an album titled West Coastin. Then he appeared on stage in 2016 during an N.W.A. reunion at Coachella and appeared in an interview for the 2017 docu-series The Defiant Ones.

Arabian Prince

Though Arabian Prince serves as one of N.W.A.’s founding presenters, the rapper is often left out of the group’s stories due to his early departure from the collective. Prince left N.W.A. shortly after Straight Outta Compton debuted in 1988, citing issues with the label’s payment and billing practices. Due to Arabian Prince’s previous experience in the music industry, the rapper was acutely aware of proper billing procedures, which he claims did not take place at Ruthless Records. This sentiment would later be echoed when Ice Cube departed the collective in 1989.

Despite being pictured front and center on the Straight Outta Compton album cover, Arabian Prince was not depicted or mentioned at any point in the 2015 biopic of the same name. Likewise, the rapper was left out of N.W.A.’s 2016 induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. In recent years, Prince has found success launching a video effects company, touring as a solo DJ, and even adapting a comic book titled Death For Hire: The Origin of Tehk City into an upcoming television project alongside Ice-T.

MC Ren

The final N.W.A. member on this list, MC Ren, has continued to record and release music to this day. Like DJ Yella, MC Ren remained signed to Eazy-E’s Ruthless Records after the other presenters had departed from the group. While occasionally popping up on Eazy-E releases for the following few years, Ren got working on his solo catalog. As a solo artist, MC Ren has released four solo albums and two EPs.

MC Ren’s latest musical effort is the EP Osiris, released in June 2022. The record spans 8 tracks, and contains features from fellow West Coast legends including Kurupt, Kokane, and Cold 187um. MC Ren joined his fellow N.W.A. presenters on stage at Coachella in 2016.

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