N.W.A (short for Niggaz Wit Attitudes or Niggaz With Attitude ) was an American hip hop group from South Central Los Angeles, California, widely considered one of the seminal acts of the gangsta rap sub-genre. 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. 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.
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. The opening song "Straight Outta Compton" introduced the group; "Fuck tha Police" protested police brutality and racial profiling, and "Gangsta Gangsta" painted the worldview of the inner-city youth. The album first appeared on music charts in 1989, peaking on the U.S. Billboard 200 at number thirty-seven, and peaking on Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums at number nine. The album has sold over three million copies and was certified double Platinum on March 27, 1992. It was N.W.A's best selling album.
The group's second full-length release, 1991's “Efil4zaggin” ("Niggaz4Life" spelled backwards), re-established the band in the face of Ice Cube's continued solo success. The album is considered by many Dr. Dre's finest production work, and it heralded the beginning of the G-Funk era. Featuring the songs “Alwayz Into Somethin'", "Appetite for Destruction" and "Approach To Danger" the album debuted at #2 on the Billboard 200, but in its second week reached number one.
With Ice Cube already gone, and tensions between the members of the group mounting, the "Niggaz4Life" proved to be their last recording together.