DJ Yella: one of those giants who changed the face of the rap game

Speaking of NWA, most people have Dr Dre, Ice Cube and Compton legend Eazy E in mind. Less spoken about, but nevertheless a capital element of the world’s most dangerous group, DJ Yella gave NWA its spicy reggae-rap flavor.

Né Antoine Carraby, DJ Yella was born on December the 11th, 1967 in Compton, California. Man of many hats, DJ Yella has worked as a DJ, a producer and as a film director. Largely influenced by funk music, DJ Yella became a drummer.

DJ Yella started Djing at LA clubs. When the notorious Dr Dre crossed his road, both men became friends and formed the World Class Wreckin’ Cru in the early 80 s.

The World Class Wreckin Cru was composed of 3 original members, DJ Yella, Dr Dre and producer Cli-N-Tell.

The founding of the NWA group dropped an explosive bomb on to the world. A revolutionary rap group of young black men with an attitude and sense of pride was born.

DJ Yella played an important role in co-producing Eazy E s Eazy Duz It album and the three NWA album. Success followed and the album sold million copies.

Using the nickname Tha Kidd, DJ Yella also did some pornographic films.

As most readers would probably know a beef opposing Dr Dre and Ice Cube to Eazy E in which all three members went at each other with hard disses lead to the total split of the group in 1991.

DJ Yella, though, refused to get involved in any beef with his fellow Eazy E and remained loyal to him.

“The reason behind the breakup was simple: Egos started getting in the way. NWA started making too much money, so everyone wanted more money. Eazy made more money ’cause he owned the label NWA was on (Ruthless Records) and had other groups under him making money. But everyone didn’t see it that way.”

(DJ Yella)

DJ Yella wonders how such a huge friendship that existed between the NWA members suddenly turned into bitterness and anger:

“Dre and I was like brothers. We was tight, real tight. “Them first few years we was all like family. Even when Cube left, the rest of us was like family … When he left, we all talked about him, even Dre. That’s when all those albums came out. Then Dre left and did an album with Cube.
“I remember when Dre told me he was leaving NWA and invited me to leave with him. I told him I’d get back with him. To this day I haven’t gotten back with him to tell him no or yes. Eazy hadn’t cheated me out of anything; I can’t get mad at Eric just ’cause Dre’s mad at him. I just stayed neutral. I was still with Eazy, but I never was in the videos where he dissed Dre either.”

(DJ Yella)

DJ Yella went on producing many artists belonging to the Ruthless Records label. When Eazy E died, in 1995, DJ Yella gathered Eazy E s different songs and collaborations in order to release Eric Wright’s last album.

In 1996, Antoine Carraby released his first solo album entitled One Mo Nigga Ta Go.

DJ Yella vanished from the scene for several years and then decided to give his career another turn: he came back as a porn movie producers.
However, the music kept playing an important role in his life and he associated again with his former accomplice in crime MC Ren to work on a song called Bangin.

Surprisingly, DJ Yella would not participate to the NWA reunion in 2000, nor was he featured in the well known Hello song. However, DJ Yella collaborated with his former fellows Dr Dre and Mc Ren on a mixtape under the nickname Tha Kidd 5000.

DJ Yella currently owns his own adult movie company, DJ Yella Entertainment.

I always liked DJ Yella’s raspy voice and particular style. DJ Yella certainly enhanced and spiced up the rap game with his presence.

The introduction of a reggae sound into the NWA added to the musical richness of the tracks.

Check the Compton legend here.

Copyright2007 by Isabelle Esling
All Rights Reserved

One thought on “DJ Yella: one of those giants who changed the face of the rap game”

Leave a Reply