|Founded||March 3, 1987|
|Country of origin||U.S|
|Location||Woodland Hills, California, U.S.|
Ruthless Records was an American record label founded by Eric "Eazy-E" Wright and Jerry Heller in Compton, California in 1986,where all of the Ruthless trademarks have been owned by Comptown Records, Inc. since 1997. Several artists on the label such as N.W.A, Eazy-E, MC Ren, The D.O.C., Michel'le, and Bone Thugs-n-Harmony have released RIAA certified albums.
The label's first successful single was Eazy's "Boyz-n-the-Hood". It also released singles by underground California acts Frost and J.J. Fad.[ citation needed ] The label's first album was N.W.A's Straight Outta Compton , which was eventually certified Triple Platinum by the RIAA. Immediately following this was the release of Eazy's solo debut, Eazy-Duz-It .
As the six members went on tour in support of their project, some began to voice their displeasure with the financial situation at Ruthless. According to group member MC Ren, it was a common opinion that N.W.A manager and Ruthless co-founder Jerry Heller was the one receiving their due:
We felt he didn’t deserve what he was getting. We deserved that shit. We were the ones making the records, traveling in vans and driving all around the place. You do all those fucking shows trying to get known, and then you come home to a fucking apartment. Then you go to his house, and this motherfucker lives in a mansion. There’s gold leaf trimmings all in the bathroom and all kinds of other shit. You’re thinking, “Man, fuck that.”
Jerry Heller, in his 2006 memoir Ruthless, disputes any allegations of financial misconduct.
The label also experienced outside pressure due to the group. The success of their song "Fuck tha Police" led to a threatening F.B.I. letter to distributor Priority Records.After coming off tour, group member Ice Cube voiced his opinions on the group's finances. Though Heller continually claims that everything was in order, and has even offered them to open the account books to prove his innocence, the ensuing confrontation ended in Ice Cube leaving Ruthless without signing on as a solo artist, which the remaining members proceeded to do.
1988 also saw the release of J.J. Fad's gold-certifiedalbum Supersonic , produced by founding N.W.A member Arabian Prince and in 1989, singer Michel'le's eponymous self-titled album, and The D.O.C.'s critically acclaimed No One Can Do It Better (all released through Atlantic), all produced by N.W.A beat-smiths Dr. Dre and DJ Yella; following these efforts, Dre returned to N.W.A, producing the 100 Miles and Runnin' E.P. and the group's sophomore effort, Niggaz4Life , which reached Platinum status. Above the Law's Livin' Like Hustlers was also released during this period (by way of Epic Records).
In 1989, Eazy signed hip-hop's first white female rapper Tairrie B to Ruthless' new Comptown label subsidiary. She released her debut album The Power of a Woman in 1990 (through MCA Records) featuring the single and video for "Murder She Wrote" which Eazy and Philadelphia rapper Schoolly D appeared in. The album also featured guest vocals by Dr. Dre, D.O.C. and future House of Pain frontman Everlast, and production by QDIII.
Though N.W.A was highly successful, Dr. Dre was advised by The D.O.C. and the rapper's friend, Suge Knight, that he should leave the label to avoid any possible financial meddling by Heller,offering to extricate Dr. Dre from his Ruthless contract. Eventually, Suge succeeded in procuring Dre, D.O.C. and Michel'le's contracts—through reportedly illicit means —and proceeded to set up Death Row with Dr. Dre.
Now short of Dr. Dre, Eazy-E signed various other acts that would assist him in a subsequent rivalry with Death Row. Gangsta Dresta and B.G. Knocc Out were among the most vocal of these rappers, with DJ Yella, 187 um and new producer Rhythum D producing. While MC Ren and DJ Yella stayed neutral, they remained with Ruthless, releasing several LPs. Eazy-E released several high-profile LPs dissing Dr. Dre, including most famously It's On (
Dr. Dre) 187um Killa . Producer Big Hutch/Cold 187 um alleges that during this time period, with Ruthless switching distributors from Priority to Relativity and Epic, even Wright began to feel as though Heller wasn't being honest with the label's finances:
When the money started rolling and a lot of cats couldn’t come to the table and renegotiate…. Ya know, it was fucked up! That’s what was wrong. Like Eazy came to me one night and he said “Man, shit is fucked up, man.” Because he was at a point where even he was getting played by Jerry Heller.
However he added, "... I can’t knock Jerry Heller... because Jerry Heller gave us all an opportunity. He took us to the people to get massive exposure. We couldn’t have walked through the doors as brothers like that. We needed a guy like Jerry Heller to do that. You need that face, you need that voice, you need that guy with a connect like that. Without him there wouldn’t have been none of that..."
Eazy-E allegedly fired Jerry Heller, shortly before his death in 1995.
On March 1, 1995, Eazy-E was diagnosed with HIV/AIDS; around this time he was beginning to work on his third LP. He had just signed the Cleveland, Ohio-based group Bone Thugs-n-Harmony, whose 1994 extended play Creepin on ah Come Up was well received by critics and fans. Eazy-E executive produced Bone Thugs' second album, E 1999 Eternal , which was released shortly after his death on March 26, 1995, of HIV/AIDS in Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, California.Their smash 1996 single "Tha Crossroads" was dedicated to Eazy-E and helped push the album to multi-platinum success.
The label has had several distributors simultaneously. Early Ruthless releases were distributed by Macola (including certain material from JJ Fad which was made prior to the completion of the Supersonic album, which were at first released on Ruthless' short-lived Dream Team subsidiary), but that deal was short-lived and the rights reverted to Ruthless. All of N.W.A's releases and Eazy-E's debut solo album on Ruthless Records were distributed by Priority, and the rights to these releases are now held by Priority's new owner, Capitol. Releases by The D.O.C, Michel'le, Yomo & Maulkie and JJ Fad were marketed through Atlantic or its subsidiary Atco. These master rights are still held by Atlantic's parent company, Warner, while Above The Law's releases were marketed through Epic and Giant. In 1994, Ruthless found exclusive distribution through Relativity, a former heavy metal label. Relativity was later folded into its parent company, Sony.[ citation needed ]
under the label
|Eazy-E||Founder (until death in 1995)||5|
|MC Ren||1987 - 1998||4|
|N.W.A||1987 - 1991||3|
|J. J. Fad||1987 - 1991||2|
|Dr. Dre||1987 - 1991||—|
|The D.O.C.||1988 - 1991||1|
|Michel'le||1988 - 1991||1|
|Fila Fresh Crew||1988 - 1990||1|
|Yomo & Maulkie||1989 - 1992||1|
|Kokane||1989 - 1995||2|
|Tarrie B||1989 - 1995||1|
|Jimmy Z||1990 - 1991||1|
|Above the Law||1990 - 1996||4|
|Penthouse Players Clique||1991 - 1993||1|
|Atban Klann||1992 - 1995||—|
|H.W.A.||1992 - 1995||2|
|Menajahtwa||1992 - 1994||1|
|Blood of Abraham||1993 - 1994||1|
|Bone Thugs-n-Harmony||1993 - 2003||5|
|Krayzie Bone||1993 - 2003||2|
|Bizzy Bone||1993 - 2003||1|
|Layzie Bone||1993 - 2003||1|
|Wish Bone||1993 - 2003||—|
|DJ U-Neek||1993 - 2003||—|
|Brownside||1994 - 1995||—|
|Kid Frost||1994 - 1997||2|
|Stevie Stone||2007 - 2010||1|
|Hopsin||2007 - 2010||1|
N.W.A was an American hip hop group whose members were among the earliest and most significant popularizers and controversial figures of the gangsta rap subgenre, and the group is widely considered one of the greatest and most influential groups in the history of hip hop music.
Lorenzo Jerald Patterson, better known by his stage name MC Ren, is an American rapper, songwriter and record producer from Compton, California. He is the founder and owner of the record label Villain Entertainment.
O'Shea Jackson Sr., known professionally as Ice Cube, is an American rapper, actor, and filmmaker. His lyrics on N.W.A's 1988 album Straight Outta Compton contributed to gangsta rap's widespread popularity, and his political rap solo albums AmeriKKKa's Most Wanted (1990), Death Certificate (1991), and The Predator (1992) were critically and commercially successful. He has also had an active film career since the early 1990s. He was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as a member of N.W.A in 2016.
Eric Lynn Wright, known professionally as Eazy-E, was an American rapper who propelled West Coast rap and gangsta rap by leading the group N.W.A and its label, Ruthless Records. He is often referred to as the "Godfather of Gangsta Rap".
Straight Outta Compton is the debut studio album by rap group N.W.A, which, led by Eazy-E, formed in Los Angeles County's City of Compton in early 1987. Released by his label, Ruthless Records, on August 8, 1988, the album was produced by N.W.A members Dr. Dre, DJ Yella, and Arabian Prince, with lyrics written by N.W.A members Ice Cube and MC Ren along with Ruthless rapper The D.O.C. Not merely depicting Compton's street violence, the lyrics repeatedly threaten to lead it by attacking peers and even police. The track "Fuck tha Police" drew an FBI agent's warning letter, which aided N.W.A's notoriety, with N.W.A calling itself "the world's most dangerous group."
Antoine Carraby, better known by his stage name DJ Yella, is an American DJ, rapper, record producer and film director from Los Angeles, California.
100 Miles and Runnin' is an EP from the American gangsta rap group N.W.A. Released on August 14, 1990, this EP of five tracks reflects an evolution of N.W.A's sound and centers on the single "100 Miles and Runnin'." Two tracks, "100 Miles" and "Real Niggaz," incidentally incited N.W.A's feud with Ice Cube, who had left to start a solo rap career. The porno rap track "Just Don't Bite It," also drew notice. Pushing lyrical boundaries in its day, the EP went gold in November 1990 and platinum in September 1992.
N.W.A. and the Posse is a compilation album, re-releasing N.W.A and associated groups' underground rap songs from the Los Angeles area's rap scene on November 6, 1987. It is regarded as American rap group N.W.A's first but neglected album; N.W.A's authorized debut studio album, rather, is Straight Outta Compton, released in August 1988. Whereas the Straight album was certified platinum, one million copies sold, in July 1989, the Posse album was certified gold, half as many copies sold, in April 1994.
Tracy Lynn Curry, better known by his stage name the D.O.C., is an American rapper. In addition to a solo career, he was a member of the Southern hip hop group Fila Fresh Crew and later collaborated with gangsta rap group N.W.A–where he co-wrote many of their releases–as well as Eazy-E's solo debut album Eazy-Duz-It. He has also worked with Dr. Dre, co-writing his solo debut album, while Dre produced Curry's solo debut album, released by Ruthless Records. He was one of the founders of Death Row Records along with Dr. Dre and Suge Knight.
Eazy-Duz-It is the debut studio album by American rapper Eazy-E. It was released on November 23, 1988, by Ruthless Records and Priority Records. The album charted on two different charts and went 2× Platinum in the United States despite very little promotion by radio and television. Three singles were released from the album, each charting in the US. The remastered version contains tracks from the extended play (EP), 5150: Home 4 tha Sick (1992). The 25th anniversary (2013) contains two bonus tracks which are 12" remixes of "We Want Eazy" and "Still Talkin.'"
No One Can Do It Better is the debut studio album by The D.O.C., released on August 1, 1989, by Ruthless Records and Atlantic Records. It reached no. 1 on the US Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums chart for two weeks, while peaking in the Top 20 on the Billboard 200 chart. The album was certified Gold by the RIAA three months after it was released, and Platinum on April 21, 1994. This was the only solo album The D.O.C. was able to record before a car accident resulted in crushing his larynx and permanently changing his voice. In recent years, however, he has been undergoing vocal surgery. He would not release another album until 7 years later, with Helter Skelter (1996), also released by Warner Music Group, but on Giant Records rather than Atlantic. The Formula has been seen as the song that invented G-funk.
Michel'le Denise Toussant, also spelled Toussaint, is an American R&B singer known for her songs from 1989 to the early 1990s. Her highest charting song is the top ten US Hot 100 hit "No More Lies". Between 2013 and 2015, Michel'le was one of six members on the TV One reality show R&B Divas: Los Angeles. She is also the subject of the 2016 biopic Surviving Compton: Dre, Suge & Michel'le.
J.J. Fad is an American female rap group from Rialto, California. The name was an acronym of the original group members' given names, but when the line-up changed the tradition developed that it stood for Just Jammin', Fresh and Def. The group was backed by DJ Train.
Gerald Elliot "Jerry" Heller was an American music manager and businessman. He was best known for his management of West Coast rap and gangsta rap pioneers N.W.A and Eazy-E. He rose to prominence in the 1960s and 1970s representing Journey, Marvin Gaye, Van Morrison, War, Eric Burdon, Crosby Stills & Nash, Ike & Tina Turner, Creedence Clearwater Revival, Otis Redding, the Who, REO Speedwagon, Black Sabbath, Humble Pie, Styx, the Grass Roots, and the Standells, among many others.
"Boyz-n-the-Hood" is the debut single by Eazy-E, then leader of a new rap group, N.W.A. Released in March 1987, the single was a local hit, reissued, by year's end, on N.W.A's EP titled N.W.A. and on the unauthorized compilation album N.W.A. and the Posse.
"Straight Outta Compton" is a song by American hip hop group N.W.A. It was released on July 10, 1988 as the lead single from their debut album of the same name. It also appears on N.W.A's Greatest Hits with an extended mix and The Best of N.W.A: The Strength of Street Knowledge. It was voted number 19 on About.com's Top 100 Rap Songs, and is ranked number 6 on VH1's 100 Greatest Songs of Hip Hop.
The discography of N.W.A, an American hip hop group, consists of two studio albums, six compilation albums, one extended play (EP), eight singles, one video album and five music videos. N.W.A was formed in Compton, California in 1986 by Eazy-E, Dr. Dre, DJ Yella, Arabian Prince and Ice Cube, with The D.O.C. and MC Ren joining later. The group's first release was the compilation album N.W.A. and the Posse in 1987, which also featured songs by The Fila Fresh Crew, Rappinstine and Ron-De-Vu. Their debut album Straight Outta Compton followed the next year, which initially reached number 37 on the US Billboard 200; it has since reached number four, and has sold over 1.5 million copies in the US alone. "Straight Outta Compton", "Gangsta Gangsta" and "Express Yourself" were released as singles from the album, all of which registered on the Billboard Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart.
Straight Outta Compton is a 2015 American biographical drama film directed by F. Gary Gray, depicting the rise and fall of the hip hop group N.W.A and its members Eazy-E, Ice Cube, Dr. Dre, MC Ren, and DJ Yella. Members of N.W.A were involved in the production of the film, including Ice Cube and Dr. Dre as producers, as was Eazy-E's widow, Tomica Woods-Wright. MC Ren and DJ Yella served as creative consultants. Ice Cube is played by his real-life son, O'Shea Jackson Jr. Corey Hawkins portrays Dr. Dre, Jason Mitchell is Eazy-E, Neil Brown Jr. is DJ Yella, and Aldis Hodge is MC Ren. Paul Giamatti stars as N.W.A's manager Jerry Heller.
Surviving Compton: Dre, Suge & Michel'le is a 2016 American biographical television drama film directed by Jackie Cooke, starring Rhyon Nicole Brown as Michel'le, Curtis Hamilton as Dre, and Jamie Kennedy as N.W.A.'s manager Jerry Heller. The film is based on the true story of R&B singer, Michel'le. The omission of Michel'le's involvement in the lives of Dre in N.W.A.'s 2015 biopic, Straight Outta Compton gave her an opportunity to tell her story as a former artist on Eazy-E's Ruthless Records.