Straight Outta Compton did a great job of telling the stories of Easy-E, Ice Cube, Dr. Dre, and Jerry Heller. And there’s no doubt Straight Outta Compton will continue to dominate the box office for a few more weekends and continue to demolish newcomer films. But which N.W.A pioneers did they miss?
Straight Outta Compton includes quite a lot of the characters that played a part in the N.W.A legacy, both the earlier and later ones. It’s surprising just how many other artists are connected with N.W.A’s legacy.
But some early Ruthless Records pioneers are entirely minimized, almost drawn out of the picture. Surely it’s due to the time constraints of filmmaking and the choices that need to be made when placing certain characters in the spotlight and others to the side of it or outside of it entirely.
There were more than a few people involved in the early days of N.W.A. Many are not seen much in Straight Outta Compton because they left the core group early. Some, like Arabian Prince, went on to less successful solo careers. Some split along with key members, like Sir Jinx, who ended up with production duties on Ice Cube’s solo albums.
As the Los Angeles Times reported, Arabian Prince provided early support to Ruthless Records with production for N.W.A. and Easy-E’s pre-N.W.A girl group J.J. Fad. The success of that group would provide the necessary funding needed to get N.W.A up and running. J.J. Fad was also not pictured in Straight Outta Compton. Arabian Prince eventually left the group when Ice Cube came back and MC Ren came in. He also felt he could be more financially successful on his own. But his financial success came mostly from his efforts in court.
Arabian Prince described the reasons for his early departure from the group to the Phoenix New Times.
“I’m a businessman first and foremost, and I was a solo artist before, so I knew how much money we were making. And I’m like, ‘Well, we just sold a million records,’ I knew we were supposed to get X amount of money we weren’t getting. And you know what, we’ve gotta split the money anyway, and we’re still not getting paid what we’re supposed to get paid. I’m going to go back and do my own thing, and I’ll make more money than all y’all, myself.”
Straight Outta Compton didn’t tell much of his story, perhaps because he left the group so much earlier than Ice Cube or Dr. Dre. But Arabian Prince was there at the beginning, and he was there while recording at least part of the seminal Straight Outta Compton album.
[Lead image via Universal Pictures]