|Image courtesy Wikipedia.|
West Coast Gangsta rap officially started through N.W.A.'s "Boyz N the Hood" rapped by Eazy-E in 1987, The N.W.A. group consisted of Eazy-E, Dr.Dre, Ice Cube, DJ Yella, MC Ren, and Arabian Prince who left in 1988. There was nothing more controversial, explicit, and descriptive of ghetto life for the first time in music history.
Ruthless Record was formed by Eazy-E supposedly from surplus cash from his drug dealing days who was seeking an exit from the business to start something legitimate. He partnered with Jerry Heller who was an established music manager that gained notreity in the 60's and 70's working with Elton John, Pink Floyd, Marvin Gaye, and Crosby Stills and Nash to name a few. N.W.A would continue to produce albums unitl 1995 but Ice Cube left in 1989 to go solo and Dr.Dre in 1991 to start Death Row Records with Suge Knight.
Dr. Dre would introduce Snoop Dogg for the Deep Cover soundtrack single which was Death Row Records first foray into the music business in 1992. Most of America including myself saw Dr. Dre for the first time in the Deep Cover music video as N.W.A. was mostly underground due to the explicit lyrics and additionally, Dr. Dre was mostly behind the scenes producing music at N.W.A. instead of rapping. Eazy-E was the real star so this was the first opportunity for Dr. Dre to step in the spotlight. While Deep Cover got some attention, it didnt really catapult Dr. Dre and Snoop Dogg until the next song recorded together got released.
I distinctly remember the day sitting at home after school in my West SFV home for the first time watching Dr.Dre's "Aint Nuthin But a G Thang" on MTV Raps. I was immediately hooked onto Dr. Dre and his debut album "The Chronic". The raw sound and hard raps was fresh and ushered in a new era of music. After "The Chronic", I purchased practically every album from Death Row Records until their decline in their late 90's.
Death Row would continue producing hits especially after the addition of Tupac Shakur in 1995. Ruthless Records was also highly successful with the addition of Bone Thugs N Harmony but eventually would also decline after the death of Eazy-E in 1995.
So what does this have to do with the West SFV? Although it's wildly known that West Coast Gangsta Rap started from rappers living in Compton and the surrounding ghetto neighborhoods, there is still a strong connection to the West SFV which I will explain below.
|Ice Cube Taft High School Yearbook Photo. Left Image courtesy Rapper Rewind, Right Image courtesy Cbl62 at en.wikipedia.|
- Ice Cube and Eazy-E were both bused from Compton and South Central to Taft High School in Woodland Hills. Ice Cube graduated in 1987 but I believe Eazy-E dropped out.
- Ice Cube wrote the groundbreaking song, "Boyz N Tha Hood" during English class at Taft where he would also write many other songs while there according to an LA Times article. Additionally, Ice Cube was the main writer for N.W.A. where the simple fact of attending Taft may have inspired him to write the rough lyrics based on the following quote from an LA Times article: "Think about how you felt at that age," Cube says. "I was mad at everything. When I went to the schools in the Valley, going through those neighborhoods, seeing how different they were from mine, that angered me. The injustice of it, that's what always got me--the injustice."
- Eazy-E, Jerry Heller, and Dr. Dre purchased $1 million mansions in Calabasas' Mountain View Estates in 1991 as their careers were taking off. An episode of MTV Yo Raps was filmed at Dr. Dre's home during a pool party.
- Dr. Dre also owned a Chatsworth home in the Monteria Estates and still owns a Woodland Hills mansion in the Westchester County Estates.
- Ruthless Records was located at 21860 Burbank Blvd Woodland Hills.
- Death Row Records would record music at Tarzana's Cam-Am Recorders located at 18730 Oxnard Street #211 in 1994 including all of Tupac's music.
- Suge Knight lived in Tarzana and Encino.
- Tupac lived in a Calabasas rental.
- Ice Cube purchased an Encino condo (located steps away from Michael Jackson's) and mansion in 1996 and also owns a music studio in Sun Valley. But I am not sure where he lived prior to Encino.
|Ruthless Records HQ's in Woodland Hills. Image courtesy Delta Bravo Urban Exploration FB.|
You can read more BTTF series here.
Murder at the Western Whitehouse, Whitney Houston, Mossad & Artificial Intelligence Telepahty and Holograms by In Search of Black Assassins on May 29, 2012.
Ice Cube Exposed by Rapper Exposed
NWA: Straight Outta Compton by Terry McDermott of the LA Times on April 14, 2002.