Graffiti, plain jeans and black ball caps, prop malt liquor bottles, and the hilariously understated warning “SOME SONGS CONTAIN EXPLICIT LYRICS”: N.W.A's album cover for N.W.A. and the Posse is much more than the sum of its parts.
In fact, Martin Cizmar, who wrote last week's story about the group for our print edition, thinks it's “a perfect snapshot of one of the most important scenes in the history of popular music,” which is why he tracked down all of the players in the pic to see how they got there (some were members of the group; others were just homies and random hangers-on), and what they're up to now.
Probably even the laziest of rap fans can at least pick out the cover's most ubiquitous players, Dr. Dre and Ice Cube. Unlike Dre, who has put off his supposedly forthcoming album Detox enough to make it hip-hop's own Chinese Democracy, Ice Cube has churned out a steady stream of music and film projects, including the Raiders documentary Straight Outta LA, which he directs and narrates. It premieres today on ESPN.
“Nothing impacted me more than when the Raiders moved to L.A.,” Cube told our film editor Karina Longworth in a rare interview.
Though Cube is arguably the most successful of all those gangstas gracing the Posse cover, he's hardly the most interesting: check out the full research Cizmar did on all the posse members, with full bios, at the Phoenix New Times' website.