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Whatever Happened to N.W.A's Posse? 

The Eazy-E True Hollywood (or True Compton) Stories behind the legendary L.A. hip-hop cover

Thursday, May 6 2010
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In the photo: Train is blocked out by the letters Macola stamped on the front.

After the photo: Train went on to start a group called C.P.O. (Capital Punishment Organization) with rapper Lil' Nation (aka Boss Hogg) and producer Young D. The group's debut, To Hell and Black, peaked at No. 33 on Billboard's hip-hop chart.

Now: DJ Train was killed in a house fire on July 26, 1994. His brother, Jesse "Tootie" Lars — who produced MC Ren's single, "Same Ol' Shit" — tells me Train saved the lives of several family members. "He went back in because he thought some of our family was still in there. He passed out in the living room, right in front of the TV, and they found him right there when they went back in," Lars says. "Train was a big man — over 6 feet, over 200 pounds — but he was a peaceful man, a spiritual man," [said Rebecca Morfin, the mother of his son Sean, at the time of his death]. "He was courageous, too. When the paramedics were putting him into the ambulance and we were all screaming that we loved him, he signaled to us that it was all right."

click to enlarge 1987's N.W.A and the Posse
  • 1987's N.W.A and the Posse

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KID DISASTER
AKA: Darryll Johnson, K-Dee

Before the photo: Kid Disaster hooked up with N.W.A through Purple Ice, later known as Ice Cube, in high school. Disaster was a member of the group C.I.A. with Ice Cube and Sir Jinx .

In the photo: Kid Disaster is just another guy not drinking any of the booze. "It was funny because everybody brought 40s and no one really drunk 40s back then. We had to make it look like we drank some so we just opened them up and poured a little bit out," he tells me. "We were all virgins, man. We were all virgins that just happened to be in the music business and doing something. We were young, man, we were still in high school. We were just having fun, we never did think it was going to do what it did, and when it did it was like, 'wow.'"

After the photo: Disaster was featured in a verse on "Make It Ruff, Make It Smooth," off Cube's Lethal Injection album. He also worked for Cube's Street Knowledge Productions and released a solo album titled Ass, Gas or Cash (No One Rides for Free) in 1994. He became estranged from Cube in 1997 for reasons he doesn't know.

Now: K-Dee lives in L.A., and is in the trucking business. He's also still doing some radio work and performing live, including a recent concert with Michel'le, perhaps the ultimate hip-hop temptress, Dr. Dre's ex-girlfriend and the mother of his son Marcel.

 

CANDYMAN
AKA: Candell Manson

Before the photo: If anyone caught a break because of his place on the Posse record cover, it's Candyman. A classmate of Ice Cube during his time at Washington Preparatory, he was unaffiliated with the group at the time. DJ Scratch and Sir Jinx report Candell Manson was splitting time between their couches when he caught a ride to the photo shoot, and somehow landed a prime spot in the front row.

In the photo: Candyman has said the cover represents the group at its realest, before the development of the styles commonly associated with gangsta rap. Arabian Prince disagrees. "Candyman got lucky," he says. "At the time, honestly, we used to actually get mad at Candyman because we'd be out on tour and we'd come back in town and sometimes he'd be representing N.W.A and we were like, 'Eh, eh, eh, you're not actually in the group. You're on the cover but ... "

After the photo: Candyman's story is possibly the ultimate irony of the N.W.A and the Posse cover. Three years after the photo was taken, around the time N.W.A was releasing its hard-hitting 100 Miles and Runnin' EP, Candyman had a Top 10 hit with "Knockin' Boots," a fun little bit of early-'90s pop-rap. "Knockin' Boots" — the second-biggest hit on the topic of boot-knockin' released in the early '90s — took his Ain't No Shame in My Game album into Billboard's Top 200. Candy toured with Tone Loc and Milli Vanilli but couldn't follow up on his success. His sophomore effort, Playtime Is Over, only had one charting single, the incredibly odd "Oneighundredskytalkpinelevenotwosevenine." Candyman was dropped from his major-label contract soon after his third album and decided to go gangsta. The cover of his fourth record, 1995's Phukk Watcha Goin' Thru, depicted the rapper posing in front of gold rims wearing a cabbie hat.

Now: Candyman lives in Vegas and books parties. Considering the heated public feuds that divided loyalties between the superstars on the Posse cover — Dr. Dre, Ice Cube, Eazy-E — it's surprising that Candyman is probably the least popular person in this photo, dissed by several others pictured when he was mentioned. "Candyman always kinda thought his shit didn't stink," says one of the other guys from the cover. "He's still that way."

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