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N.W.A ("Niggaz Wit Attitudes"[1][2] or "Niggaz With Attitude"[3]) was an American hip hop group from Compton, California, widely considered one of the seminal acts of the gangsta rap sub-genre.[4]

The original lineup consisted of Eazy-E, Dr. Dre, DJ Yella, Arabian Prince, Ice Cube, and MC Ren. Arabian Prince embarked on a solo career in 1989 and Ice Cube left in 1990 over royalty disputes.

Active from 1986 to 1991, the group endured controversy due to the explicit nature of their lyrics. They were subsequently banned from many mainstream US radio stations and even at times prevented from touring. In spite of this, the group has sold over 9 million units in the US alone.

Their debut album Straight Outta Compton marked the beginning of the new gangsta rap era as the production and the social commentary in their lyrics were revolutionary within the genre.[3] Rolling Stone ranked N.W.A 83rd on their list of the 100 Greatest Artists of All Time. [5]

Although largely unknown at the group's inception, members Dr. Dre, Eazy-E, Ice Cube, and MC Ren would all become platinum-selling stars as solo artists.



Formation and "Panic Zone" (1986–1988)

The group was assembled by Compton-based former drug dealer Eazy-E, who co-founded Ruthless Records with Jerry Heller.[3][6] Ruthless released "Panic Zone" in 1987 with Macola Records, which was later included on the compilation N.W.A. and the Posse. N.W.A was still in its developing stages, and only credited on four of the eleven tracks, notably the uncharacteristic electro hop record "Panic Zone," "8-Ball," and "Dopeman," which marked the first collaboration of Arabian Prince, DJ Yella, Dr. Dre and Ice Cube. Also included was Eazy's solo track "Boyz-n-the Hood."[7] In 1988, rapper MC Ren joined the group.[3]

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