Compton's Most Wanted
|Compton's Most Wanted|
|Also known as||C.M.W.|
|Origin||Compton, California, U.S.|
|Genres||West Coast hip hop, Gangsta rap, G-funk|
|Labels||Orpheus/Epic/Half Ounce/ Native Records|
|Associated acts||Wanted Gang, West Coast Skratch Gang, The Warzone, 1st Generation, The Unknown DJ, Killafornia, N.O.T.R.|
DJ Mike T
Formation and early years
In the mid-1980s, Tha Chill and Ant Capone, founding members of C.M.W. prior to the joining of MC Eiht, were writing raps and practicing demo tapes (also called "hood tapes") with their longtime Compton friend MC Ren of the multi platinum group N.W.A. Tha Chill then encouraged MC Eiht to leave the corner hustle of the street scene in Compton and start making money in a legit but fun way by writing street raps which was becoming a big street buzz in the Los Angeles County Area. In 1987, while in Compton, The Unknown DJ was given a "hood tape" by a friend and was very interested in the diverse style and rhyme schemes of the "Compton's Most Wanted" rap group. The Unknown DJ then took the "hood tape" to DJ Slip in Gardena, a city just south of Compton, who at the time was the owner of Los Angeles County's largest DJ Rental business called "Music People - DJ4HIRE".
Compton's Most Wanted became part of a coalition DJ/ rap team called The Sound Control Mob, headed by DJ Slip along with other members DJ Mike T, DJ Rockin Tom, DJ Ric Roc, DJ Fat Jack and MC's The Real MC Master Rhyme and G.Q. Steve of The Sleeze Boys. DJ Slip then got "The Sound Control Mob" a record deal with Alonzo Williams a.k.a. Grand Master Lonz of World Class Wreckin' Cru and Compton native Charles Turner. The collaboration label was called "World Class/ City Fresh Records". In 1989, Ant Capone left the group due to contract and managing issues with The Unknown DJ, and Tha Chill was arrested for "joy riding," but was released a few weeks later on time served and finished what was remaining on the album.
In 1989, C.M.W. released their first single "This Is Compton" and signed to Orpheus Records. The following year, they released their first album, It's a Compton Thang which featured the single with the same title. It's a Compton Thang was entirely produced by DJ Slip and The Unknown DJ. The album peaked at #132 in the U.S. charts. A year later, the group released the follow-up album, Straight Checkn 'Em, which featured popular hits like "Growin' Up In tha Hood," which was the title sound track off the John Singleton block buster hit movie Boyz n the Hood, and the first version of the "Def Wish" series. MC Chill was sentenced to prison some months before the album was released and he did not have the chance to participate, but he was on the sound track of Boyz In The Hood. However, the album Straight Check'n Em was a bigger success than their previous album, peaking at #92.
Again in 1992, the group released their third and most successful studio album, Music to Driveby. It featured the single "Hood Took Me Under" which was produced by DJ Mike T and DJ Slip and charted at #5 in Hot Rap Singles. The "Hood Took Me Under" album version was featured on the popular video game Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas (which also features MC Eiht as a vital supporting character) at the West Coast radio station, Radio Los Santos. The album charted at #66 in the U.S. charts and is considered a classic by many people. It was the last album C.M.W. released until their long break.
It was before "Who's Fucking Who," also produced by DJ Mike T and DJ Slip which was aimed at Bronx, NY old school rapper Timothy "Tim Dog" Blair. C.M.W. agreed with each other not to diss Tim Dog on the fact he didn't mention anything about them in his song. All that changed while on promotional tour in 1990 at a Sony music release party for all the labels under the Sony Corporation. Epic Records Compton's Most Wanted & brother label Columbia Records' Tim Dog were at the party. We explained to each other our style and mission in the entertainment industry and agreed everything was on the up and ups. Tim Dog even explained his motive for the "Fuck Compton" song saying it was a personal beef against N.W.A's Dr. Dre for an altercation with female rapper/ television personality Dee Barnes from the rap video show Pump It Up because she was born in New York City but lived in Los Angeles. He also stated he didn't like jeri curls and he hated R&B singer Michel'le's voice. But all that changed while taking pictures when Tim Dog asked members DJ Mike T & MC Eiht to spread a message to all Compton rappers that "he was accepting all diss records and he wanted to start a U.T.F.O. style of dissing like the "Roxanne Roxanne" era. DJ Mike T got infuriated by the gimmick approach knowing that the New York/ Los Angeles feud was about to boil over and Tim Dog's rhyme style was getting outdated in New York by the next generation of rap. So when C.M.W. got off their promo tour, DJ Mike T made the initial track for "Who's Fucking Who" and took it to DJ Slip's house where he and MC Eiht had already started working on the Music To Drive By album. MC Eiht still didn't want to waste a song to diss Tim Dog because he was a non factor to us, but DJ Mike T express his true reasons and has him listen to what he had made. Then it was a go! Basically, we sampled Tim Dog's "Fuck Compton" song and rearranged his vocals making him diss himself, to himself, about himself. The 2nd single/ video "Def Wish 2" was directed at well-known Compton rapper name DJ Quik who had controversial lyrics on his "underground tape" prior to his signing with Profile Records.
Their first three albums It's a Compton Thang, Straight Checkn 'Em and Music to Driveby, were produced by DJ Slip and The Unknown DJ. The Unknown DJ also produced both Electro funk tracks as well as Ice-T's classic gangsta song "6 In the Mornin'", and King Tee's classic gangsta songs "Payback's A Mutha" & "If Ya Ever In Compton Ya Better Bring A Gun" featuring Compton legend Mix Master Spade.
"Def Wish II" was one of the last 4 songs produced by The Unknown DJ before being fired by Epic Records for publishing and an error in misdirected funds on his studio tax write-off. Epic Records initiated the 1st diss by bringing a cut out of DJ Quik to the "Hood Took Me Under" video shoot saying, they heard his "underground tape" and they felt it was a slap in the face. While on the Music To Drive By tour 1992 in Dallas, DJ Mike T by an Independent Artist contract under Epic Records was 2nd in command of C.M.W. and asked MC Eiht to start working on his solo career because Tha Chill had missed the last two albums but was opening and on stage at our concerts and nobody really knows by way of our interviews that he was the mastermind behind all 3 albums. DJ Mike T also felt that MC Eiht would miss a better ride by going solo if the public kept viewing the lyrics as a group written project rather than he and his talent being expressed for everyone by himself.
Tha Chill was released from prison in 1992. During his time in prison he missed C.M.W.'s two biggest albums: Straight Checkn 'Em and Music to Driveby. After two years in prison, he did not have the chance to return to the group, as MC Eiht chose to connect him with Compton rapper Boom Bam to form the group Niggas On The Run. Tha Chill agreed to tour with C.M.W. and open up all shows with songs from N.O.T.R. and worked with both MC Ren & MC Eiht on their solo albums.
MC Eiht agreed to DJ Mike T's terms "to make 3 MC Eiht solos and every few years C.M.W. will come back as a whole including N.O.T.R., Lil Hawk & Byrd & Da Foe" (MC Eiht's little brother). MC Eiht went on to release his over 500,000 copies sold Gold debut solo album We Come Strapped in 1994 featuring C.M.W., Death Threatz in 1995 featuring C.M.W., and Last Man Standing in 1996 on Epic Records, the 1st ever hip hop label Epic Street Records to finish out the group's 5-album deal with them.
Since the formation of Compton's Most Wanted in 1989, DJ Mike T was a rising DJ on the 18 & up and 21 & over club scenes. Starting out working for Los Angeles local promoters Diamond Productions as the head DJ for club "Hollywood Live" on Friday & Saturday nights, he then added Thursday Nights at club "Paradise 24". DJ Mike T went on to DJ for co-promoter R&B multi platinum group Bell Biv Devoe on Monday Nights at the Hollywood Paladium. He did this while recording and touring with C.M.W. and working a full-time job at Martin Luther King Jr. Hospital as a general maintenance helper, until he was shot in the back and arm by a Crip gang member in August 1993 in Inglewood. The shooting was done in retaliation to a Crip being murdered a week before by a Blood Low Rider Club. DJ Mike T was in the wrong place at the wrong time. C.M.W. was booked and ready to go on their 1st European Tour, but DJ Mike T was in the hospital for over 10 days. When he got out of the hospital he produced an EP album Inglewoodz Finast (Power Move Records) with his Jr. high/ high school friend/DJ/producer/rapper MC Loon E Toons (also known as MC Looney Toons), another rapper from The Sound Control Mob / Under Investigation compilation.
DJ Slip started working for himself at Cherokee Studios in the Fairfax area of Los Angeles where he recorded for South Central Los Angeles rapper I Smooth 7's debut album I Smooth 7 in 1995 & MC Eiht's 2nd solo album Death Threatz in 1995 as well. DJ Slip left Cherokee Studios in 1998 and started recording and producing in a home built studio for less rent and privacy.
Finally, after a break of eight years, C.M.W. released Represent in 2000. The album featured the single "This Is Compton 2000" & "Some May Know", but did not achieve the success of their previous albums. In 2001 DJ Slip started working for an Independent studio/label West Coast IV Life Records.
In 2006, C.M.W. released Music to Gang Bang, which contained four singles, most notably the single titled "Music to Gang Bang", however the album was not as commercially successful as previous releases. Additionally, C.M.W. are set for a reunion which will feature on DJ Slip's next album The Minority Report.
C.M.W. are known especially for their slow, often melancholic raps, using samples from 1970s soul and funk records such as "Joy" and "Walk On By" by Isaac Hayes and "Love T.K.O." by Teddy Pendergrass. They are also known for using movie samples such as "Scareface" & "Deep Cover". Freestyle keyboardist, saxophone and harmonica player Willie Zimmerman, though not officially a member, is used extensively on songs "Drive By Miss Daisy", "Def Wish", "Nigga Strugglin", "Use A Bitch", and "Hood Rat".
In 2008, Compton rapper The Game revealed in an interview that he was in talks with MC Eiht to revive the group; however, this has yet to materialise. In 2011, MC Eiht and Tha Chill linked back up to form parts of the supergroup 1st Generation, which also includes San Diego rapper Jayo Felony, Tha Dogg Pound rapper Kurupt, fellow Compton rappers King Tee, Kill At Will & K-9, South Central Los Angeles DJ/ producer Sir Jinx, and Long Beach rapper Gangsta of the rap group The Comrads.
- 1990: It's a Compton Thang
- 1991: Straight Checkn 'Em
- 1992: Music to Driveby
- 2000: Represent
- 2006: Music to Gang Bang
- Yahoo! music. Compton's Most Wanted. Accessed November 9, 2007.
- Foxytunes. Comptons Most Wanted biography. Accessed November 9, 2007.
- IV Life Records.