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MC Ren

Twenty-seven years later, N.W.A still rubs a raw spot

Twenty-seven years later, N.W.A still rubs a raw spot

The first time I met the rapper Eazy-E in 1988, he was slumped low in an office chair, black Raiders cap jammed firmly over his curls. The glowering teenager at his side was MC Ren. I'm fairly sure it was Eazy's first encounter with the mainstream press, but he flowed from "on the record'' to "off the record'' to "on background'' with the fluent ease of a Washington pol. (Much of his album "Eazy-Duz-It" took the form of imaginary press interviews.) In its way, N.W.A was — and still is — custom-tailored for the demands of the media.

N.W.A's canny self-identification as a ruthless Compton street gang was close enough to blur the line between...

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