Yella from N.W.A

Yella is a performer, record producer, film director and producer and founding member of the pioneering rap group, N.W.A. N.W.A.’s improbable rise from marginalized outsiders to the most controversial and complicated voices of their generation remains one of rock music’s most explosive, relevant and challenging tales. From their Compton, California headquarters, Yella (Antoine Carraby), along with Eazy E (Eric Wright), Dr. Dre (Andre Young), Ice Cube (O’Shea Jackson) and MC Ren (Lorenzo Patterson), would – be force of will and through unrelenting tales of street life – sell tens of millions of records, influence multiple generations of the world over and extend artistic middle fingers to the societal barriers of geography, respectability, caste, authority and whatever else happened to get in their way.

In the early 1980s, Yella and Dr. Dre, influenced by Grandmaster Flash, formed the World Class Wreckin’ Cru, combining electronics and old school rap. Soon, Eazy E, MC Ren and Ice Cube were brought into the mix, forming N.W.A. As enduringly evergreen as the Beatles and as shockingly marketable as the Sex Pistols, N.W.A. (Niggaz Wit Attitudes) made a way out of no way, put their city on the map and solidified the disparate elements of gangsta rap into a genre meaty enough to be quantified, imitated and monetized for decades to come. But long before they were memorialized in the blockbuster biopic Straight Outta Compton or ranked by Rolling Stone among the “100 Greatest Artists of All Time,” they were just five young men with something to say. Five men, with at least twice that many opposing points of view among them, N.W.A. and its extended family tree of platinum satellites (an unmatched assemblage of talent including Snoop Dogg, Warren G, Nate Dogg, Bone Thugs-n-harmony, 2Pac, Eminem, 50 Cent, Kendrick Lamar) helped set the stage for hip-hop’s emergence as this planet’s most dominant musical life form.

As a producer, Yella and Dr. Dre produced Eazy E’s debut double platinum (2 million records sold) album, Eazy-Duz-It and both multi-platinum N.W.A. albums. N.W.A, collectively sold over 10 million records. In addition, Yella and Dr. Dre produced the gold selling debut albums of J.J. Fad. After the break-up of N.W.A., Yella produced J.J. Fad’s second album, Not Just a Fad, Yomo & Maulkie’s album, Are U Xperienced?, two tracks from Eazy E’s It’s On (Dr. Dre) 187um Killa, the hit single “Foe the Love of $” off of the triple platinum selling debut EP Creepin On Ah Come Up both from Bone Thugs-n-Harmony, Menajahtwa’s album Cha-licious and tracks from H.W.A’s Az Much Ass Azz U Want. Yella also oversaw Eazy-E’s final album in 1995 which went gold. In 1996, Yella released his debut solo album, One Mo Nigga ta Go, a tribute album dedicated to the memory of his long time friend and group member, the late Eazy E. After releasing his solo album, he decided to take a break from producing music and hopped into a very successful 15 year career directing and producing adult films. 

In 2015, Yella was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as a member of N.W.A. That same year, Yella collaborated with N.W.A group members Dr. Dre, Ice Cube and MC Ren to serve as a creative consultant on the critically acclaimed and award-winning biographical film Straight Outta Compton which grossed over 250 million dollars, once again impacting millions of multiple generations of people from city to city, state to state and country to country.

Currently, Yella continues to tour the world doing live performances, Q&A’s at Colleges and High Schools, as well as speaking at various Juvenile Halls for troubled teenagers, feeding the homeless at food drives and participating in various other non-profit related festivals and events. Yella’s still keeping it real coming straight outta Compton straight into the communities all over the globe, once again impacting the entire music world.