The Musical Lineage of N.W.A


N.W.A changed the world. The 90’s Gangsta Rap ensemble brought with them the combination of in your face reality and biting social criticism laid out via incredible rhymes over high level production, to a degree the populace had previously not encountered. They achieved incredible success during their short lived (3 years as full on unit, and 2 more without lead emcee Ice Cube) run; selling over 5 million albums. But the musical legacy that N.W.A left behind continued far beyond their contribution as a group, or even as individual artists. The lineage of artists, labels, crews, etc that stem from the original grouping of the Compton kingpins is incredibly vast.

Most know that Eminem is Dr.Dre’s protege, but it might not be as obvious that rapper Joel Ortiz is currently signed to Eminem’s Shady Records as a member of Slaughterhouse, while having previously been signed as a solo act on Dr.Dre’s Aftermath Entertainment. Or the interesting tidbit that Michel’le who has a child with both Suge Knight and Dr.Dre, also happened to be signed to Ruthless Records & Death Row Records at different stages in her career. Really just seeing the full breadth of the Dr.Dre’s influence on modern music in itself is mind blowing.

The chart below is a family tree of sorts; starting with N.W.A and trickling down via members of N.W.A that founded labels. The lines that connect show relationships, such as the artists to the label they founded/owned, as well as artists or groups who are signed to a label. Sometimes even the label owner is also shown as part of a group within that label, like Ice Cube in Westside Connection. Members of a group are also differentiated by those who are signed only as part of a group, like was as a member of Ruthless Record’s Atbann Klann; or as a solo, and a group artist like the great Snoop Dogg was in the heyday of Death Row Records. There are some artists listed who went on to found labels that are not shown, but if they were not part of the larger umbrella of the label who signed them then it was not included. For example Daz Dillinger’s Dogg Pound records came after he had left Death Row Records. There are obviously some acts who were part of the labels we highlighted that are not represented, but anyone who had some further connection beyond just being on the label at some point was surely mentioned. Additionally, although not a full on member of the group, The D.O.C. was arguably as important to the career of N.W.A as any one member, and for this chart’s purposes was treated as such. Overall we did our best to try to clearly and accurately paint the full picture. Download the image here

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