In 1989, Ruthless Records boasted one of the finest rosters in Rap music history. With N.W.A.’s Straight Outta Compton in heavy rotation (with a massive tour behind it), Eazy-E’s independent label was fast expanding to include The D.O.C., Above The Law, and J.J. Fad.
By 1990, everything had changed. Ice Cube had angrily left his group and label, as N.W.A. appeared fractured in the aftermath. Meanwhile, The D.O.C. was critically wounded in a near-fatal car accident that almost destroyed his ability to speak, let alone rhyme. As Cube was at odds with his former band-mates, he would famously get into it with A.T.L.’s front-man and producer Cold 187um (a/k/a Big Hutch), due to their rise in his absence. At the Anaheim Theater in April of that year, the two gangsta rappers came to blows in 187um’s dressing room, following some jabs in the media. In July, at New York City’s Marriott Marquis in Times Square—the two men, backed by Above The Law and Da Lench Mob, respectively, had an encore violent confrontation. That scene was chronicled in last year’s Straight Outta Compton film, portraying N.W.A. and A.T.L. affiliate Laylaw front and center in the brawl.