The first time I met the rapper Eazy-E in 1988, he was slumped low in an office chair, black Raiders cap jammed firmly over his curls. The glowering teenager at his side was MC Ren. I’m fairly sure it was Eazy’s first encounter with the mainstream press, but he flowed from “on the record” to “off the record” to “on background” with the fluent ease of a Washington pol. (Much of his album “Eazy-Duz-It” took the form of imaginary press interviews.) In its way, N.W.A was — and still is — custom-tailored for the demands of the media.N.W.A’s canny self-identification as a ruthless Compton street gang was close enough to blur the line between fantasy and experience.
The detailed first-person accounts of robberies, sexual assaults and drive-by shootings made equally uncomfortable both the people who thought N.W.A might be putting them on and the people who were pretty sure that they weren’t. See the most-read entertainment stories >>Open link The formula was the stuff of hits. If you were driving around Los Angeles in 1987, “Boyz-N-the-Hood” may have been the soundtrack to your summer whether you wanted it to be or not; merry vignettes from the life of an urban gangster, written by Ice Cube and drawled in the high, cartoonish voice of rapper Eazy-E.