Get The Backstory To The Presumed First Ever Photo Of N.W.A. (Video)
In the history of N.W.A., the pre-1988 material often lives in the shadows. The “Panic Zone” 12″ featured artwork also purposed for 1987’s N.W.A. & The Posse compilation album on Macola. Author, DJ, historian, and Soul Sides founder Oliver Wang examined this photograph from ’87, leading up to this month’s Straight Outta Compton biopic theatrical release.
In a 13-minute video essay, O-Dub reveals a who’s-who in the photo (which did not include DJ Yella, despite involvement). Wang does point out figures such as Arabian Prince, Sir Jinx, and Candyman, who would later find success on their own. Oliver makes observations about the implications of the high-heel shoes on the ground, as well as Public Enemy’s fashion influence on future-collaborators Ice Cube, Jinx, and others.
Wang uses those photographed to track down the photo’s origins, locations, and photographer. For lovers of minutia, factoids, and where-are-they-now effects, this is a must-watch to an oft-overlooked moment in the N.W.A. story. This story ties MC Ren, Eazy-E, Dr. Dre, Cube and Yella to Phil Spector, The Beach Boys, Charles Wright, Ritchie Valens, and more. Wang shows what’s left, landmark-wise, of this Gangsta Rap moment today.