DJ Yella

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

DJ Yella
Carraby in 2015
Carraby in 2015
Background information
Birth nameAntoine Carraby
Also known asYella, Yellaboy
Born (1961-12-11) December 11, 1961 (age 62)
Compton, California, U.S.
GenresHip hop, gangsta rap
Occupation(s)DJ, rapper, record producer, film director
Instrument(s)Turntables, keyboards, drums, vocals
Years active1984–1996, 2009, 2016

Antoine Carraby (born December 11, 1961), known professionally as DJ Yella, is an American DJ, rapper, record producer and film director from Los Angeles.[1][2]

DJ Yella began his career as a member of the World Class Wreckin' Cru along with Dr. Dre.[3] He later joined the pioneering gangsta rap group N.W.A (originally composed of Dr. Dre, Ice Cube, Arabian Prince and Eazy-E) and became the least vocal but longest-lasting member of the group. His first and only studio album One Mo Nigga ta Go was released in 1996 through Street Life Records and was dedicated to Eazy-E. After the release of the album he left the music industry to direct pornographic films until 2011, when he started working on a new album called West Coastin.[4]

Early life[edit]

Antoine Carraby was born in Compton, California, on December 11, 1961, and raised in Los Angeles.[5][6]

The second youngest of nine children, Carraby grew up poor and considered himself something of a loner. His parents divorced when he was four years old, and he lived primarily with his mother.[7]

He was passionate about music from a young age. He grew up listening to funk music and learned to play the drums. As a teenager, he performed at various clubs of Los Angeles by the name of Yella which was inspired by Tom Tom Club's Mr. Yellow. After watching Run-D.M.C. perform in California for the first time, he and Dre both were amazed to see them on-stage with nothing more than a DJ scratching. They attempted to make a few records themselves in the nightclub Eve After Dark, owned by Alonzo Williams.


The cover for Yella's first single "Slice" (1984) with the Wreckin' Cru

Yella began DJ'ing as a teenager in a local club called Eve After Dark. At the club he met aspiring DJ Dr. J, later to become member Dr. Dre of N.W.A. Eve After Dark had a back room with a small four-track studio. In this studio, Yella and Dre recorded several demos. In their first recording session, they recorded a song entitled "Surgery". Influenced by Grandmaster Flash, Yella and Dre formed the World Class Wreckin' Cru in the early '80s, which released its debut album under the Kru-Cut label in 1985. The group would become stars of the electro-hop scene that dominated early-mid 1980s West Coast hip hop. "Surgery", recorded and released prior to the group's official formation, was their first hit, selling 50,000 copies in Compton alone. DJ Yella and Dr. Dre also performed mixes for local radio station KDAY, boosting ratings for its afternoon rush-hour show The Traffic Jam.[8]

Along with Dre, Yella helped produce Eazy-E's debut album Eazy-Duz-It and the three N.W.A albums, with the first being a compilation album translating into millions of sales. Along with Dr. Dre and Arabian Prince, Yella co-produced J.J. Fad's gold certified debut (Super Sonic) and also Michel'le's (self-titled) album and contributed to The D.O.C.'s 1989 album No One Can Do It Better (also produced by Dre). Jerry Heller, in his 2006 memoir Ruthless, witnessed Dre and Yella's work together, writing that the two had an "almost eerie understanding", as they crafted high quality beats and productions with almost no words or full sentences needing to be spoken.[9]

DJ Yella in 1990

Yella remained close to Eazy and stayed on production duties at Ruthless Records after the acrimonious breakup of N.W.A. He produced J.J. Fad's second album Not Just a Fad (1990), Yomo & Maulkie's album Are U Xperienced? (1991), two tracks from Eazy-E's It's On (Dr. Dre) 187um Killa (1993), the gold-selling hit single "Foe tha Love of $" from Bone Thugs-N-Harmony's Creepin on ah Come Up EP, Menajahtwa's album Cha-licious, and tracks from H.W.A.'s Az Much Ass Azz U Want E.P. (all three from 1994). He also helped produce Eazy's final album Str8 off tha Streetz of Muthaphukkin Compton, released about a year after his sudden death in 1995 from AIDS-related complications.[10][11][12][13][14]

Yella released his 1996 debut solo album One Mo Nigga ta Go on Street Life Records as a tribute to Eazy-E, featuring members of the Ruthless "family tree" Kokane, B.G. Knocc Out, and Dresta, rhyming over his productions.[15] The album peaked at number 82 on the Billboard 200 albums chart and at number 23 on the Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums chart in the US.[16][17]

After this record he retired from music to embark on a 12-year career directing and producing pornographic films.[18] Yella says he produced more than 300 adult films.[19][20]

Yella was played by Neil Brown Jr.[21] in the 2015 N.W.A biopic, Straight Outta Compton.[22][23][24] He is portrayed as very interested in sex and women, and also as less aggressive than the other members and unwilling to engage in conflict with Ice Cube.

In April 2016, Yella reunited with the former members of N.W.A at Coachella.[25][26]

Awards and honors[edit]

In 2016, Yella was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as a member of N.W.A.[27][28] In 2024, Yella and the other members of N.W.A. received a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award.[29]


Studio albums[edit]

Album information
One Mo Nigga ta Go
  • Released: March 26, 1996
  • Chart positions: #82 US, #23 Top R&B/Hip Hop

Collaboration albums[edit]

with World Class Wreckin' Cru

with N.W.A.

Selected works[edit]

Year Artist Album Role Tracks
1984 Yella "Slice"/"Kru Groove" Performer Both songs
1985 World Class Wreckin' Cru World Class Vocals, drum programming Entire EP
1986 World Class Wreckin' Cru Rapped in Romance Vocals Entire album
1988 Eazy-E Eazy-Duz-It Producer Entire album
1988 J.J. Fad Supersonic Producer, mixing, backing vocals Entire album
1988 N.W.A Straight Outta Compton Producer Entire album
1989 The D.O.C. No One Can Do It Better Drums "Comm. Blues", "Comm. 2" and "The Grand Finalé"
1989 Michel'le Michel'le Mixing Entire album
1990 N.W.A 100 Miles and Runnin' Producer Entire EP
1990 J.J. Fad Not Just a Fad Producer Entire album
1991 N.W.A Niggaz4Life Producer, co-writer Entire album; co-wrote "Real Niggaz Don't Die", "Real Niggaz", "She Swallowed It", "I'd Rather Fuck You" and "Approach to Danger"
1991 Yomo & Maulkie Are U Xperienced? Producer Entire album
1993 Eazy-E It's On (Dr. Dre) 187um Killa Producer, co-writer "Still a Nigga" and "Gimmie That Nutt" (co-wrote both songs)
1994 Bone Thugs-n-Harmony Creepin on ah Come Up Producer "Intro", "Foe tha Love of $ and "Moe Cheese"
1994 Menajahtwa Cha-licious Both producer and executive producer Entire album
1994 H.W.A. Az Much Ass Azz U Want Producer "High Timez"
1996 Eazy-E Str8 off tha Streetz of Muthaphukkin Compton Producer "First Power", "Ole School Shit", "Sippin on a 40", "Tha Muthaphukkin Real", "Lickin, Suckin, Phuckin", "Creep N Crawl", "Gangsta Beat 4 tha Street" and "Eternal E"
1996 Yella One Mo Nigga ta Go Both producer and executive producer Entire album


Year Title Role Notes
1993 Niggaz4Life: The Only Home Video Himself Documentary
2017 The Defiant Ones Himself TV documentary
Biographical portrayals in film
Year Title Portrayed by Notes
2015 Straight Outta Compton Neil Brown Jr. Biographical film about N.W.A
2016 Surviving Compton: Dre, Suge & Michel'le Deric Augustine Biographical film about Michel'le


  1. ^ "The 50 Most Influential DJs | Music". BET. Retrieved August 19, 2015.
  2. ^ "DJ Yella: 'Cops Got to Be Held Accountable'". Retrieved August 19, 2015.
  3. ^ Coe, Kairi. "Exclusive! DJ Yella Speaks on World Class Wreckin' Cru Days w/ Dr. Dre". Retrieved August 19, 2015.
  4. ^ "What Happened To DJ Yella, N.W.A. Original Member? You'll Never Believe The Career He Chose After Music". Bustle. August 14, 2015. Retrieved August 14, 2015.
  5. ^ Kautz, Justin. "N.W.A.". Encyclopædia Britannica. Retrieved June 11, 2021.
  6. ^ Carraby, Antoine (2021). Straight Outta Compton: My Untold Story. Independently Published. ISBN 9798506023630. Retrieved June 11, 2021.
  7. ^ "Interview with DJ Yella". Retrieved September 15, 2023.
  8. ^ "Yella Biography, Songs, & Albums". AllMusic. Retrieved September 15, 2022.
  9. ^ Heller, Jerry (2006). Ruthless: A Memoir. New York: Simon Spotlight Entertainment. pp. 106. ISBN 978-1-4169-1792-2.
  10. ^ May, Mitchell (March 7, 1991). "Home Entertainment. Rave recordings". Chicago Tribune. Tempo. p. 8.
  11. ^ "Str8 Off tha Streetz of Muthaph---in' Compton". Entertainment Weekly. February 2, 1996. Archived from the original on July 16, 2019. Retrieved July 16, 2019.
  12. ^ "N.W.A Legend DJ Yella Remembers Eazy-E Visiting Him — After He Died". HipHopDX. August 11, 2021.
  13. ^ Robertson, Iyana (September 8, 2015). "DJ Yella Addresses Speculation Of Foul Play In Eazy-E's Death: "You Never Know"". VIBE.
  14. ^ Harrington, Richard (February 7, 1996). "No Inroads on Eazy E's Streetz'". The Washington Post. Retrieved April 28, 2024.
  15. ^ "One Mo Nigga ta Go – Yella". AllMusic. Retrieved September 26, 2018.
  16. ^ "Yella Chart History (Billboard 200)". Billboard. Retrieved January 20, 2022.
  17. ^ "Yella Chart History (Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums)". Billboard. Retrieved January 20, 2022.
  18. ^ Fitzgerald, Trent. "22 Rappers You Probably Didn't Know Have a History With Porn". XXL Magazine. Retrieved October 20, 2020.
  19. ^ "N.W.A Pioneer DJ Yella Directed Over 300 Pornographic Films – Then Found God". HipHopDX. August 24, 2021.
  20. ^ Yamato, Jen (August 11, 2015). "The N.W.A Member Turned Pornographer". The Daily Beast. Retrieved August 19, 2015.
  21. ^ Kroll, Justin (July 29, 2014). "Universal's 'Straight Outta Compton' Casts its MC Ren and DJ Yella". Variety.
  22. ^ "DJ Yella Says Watching 'Straight Outta Compton' Was Eerie – XXL". XXL Magazine. August 6, 2015. Retrieved August 6, 2015.
  23. ^ "Straight Outta Compton's Neil Brown Jr. on Oscars Controversy". January 25, 2016.
  24. ^ Ford, Rebecca (July 29, 2014). "N.W.A Biopic Casts MC Ren & DJ Yella Roles". Billboard.
  25. ^ Kreps, Daniel (June 28, 2015). "Ice Cube Reunites With N.W.A's DJ Yella and MC Ren Onstage". Rolling Stone.
  26. ^ "Watch Ice Cube reunite with N.W.A. members MC Ren and DJ Yella at Coachella". NME. April 17, 2016.
  27. ^ "N.W.A | Rock & Roll Hall of Fame". Retrieved April 26, 2021.
  28. ^ "NWA inducted to Rock and Roll Hall of Fame". BBC News. April 10, 2016. Retrieved January 24, 2022.
  29. ^ Dillon, Nancy (February 4, 2024). "N.W.A, Gladys Knight Score Laughs, Praise With Lifetime Achievement Grammys". Rolling Stone. Retrieved February 6, 2024.

External links[edit]