New tracks that DJs should know about.
Arabian Prince in the late 1980s.
Kim Lezan, better known as Arabian Prince, was a pioneer of west coast hip-hop and one of the founding members of N.W.A. The Los Angeles rapper/DJ/producer recently spoke with VICE’s EDM network thump about his involvement in the group and current projects.
Here’s five things we learned from the interview.
1. He met Dr. Dre through the local scene.
Arabian Prince: “Me and Dr. Dre met just hanging in the scene. There was a small circle of DJs on the West Coast in the 80s. Dre was with the Wrecking Crew, I was with Bobby Jimmy and the Critters at the time, and we just clicked. We lived in the same area, South Central, Compton. We would go to Skateland in Compton, go to the beach, chase women.”
2. He produced N.W.A’s first single, “Panic Zone.”
thump: “Arabian Prince was a founding member of N.W.A and a major creative force before the group underwent their sharp turn from street-savvy electro funk into the hardcore gangsta rap icons they’re known for being. He wrote and produced their first single ‘Panic Zone,’ while also rapping and producing on their first two albums, but you won’t see him in the new hit movie Straight Outta Compton.”
3. He says he left N.W.A for the same reasons that Dre and Cube did.
Arabian Prince: “I was making records as Arabian Prince and banking, but now that I was in a group that was selling millions of records, I was making less? How are we supposed to be hardcore gangsters, yet we getting screwed out of our own cash? People say I’m stupid for leaving N.W.A. so early, but eventually Dre and Cube left for the same reasons. I was just first.”
4. He wasn’t asked to be in the Straight Outta Compton movie.
Arabian Prince: “If the reason we are not in this movie is because [Eazy E’s widow, Tomica Woods-Wright] has some kind of vengeance against us, man that’s f#cked up. She wasn’t even there to see any of that. I know she’s the executive producer and she has rights over most everybody. Probably Dre and Cube’s hands were tied, but no one has reached out to me, so I don’t know. In the end, the people that know the real history, the truth will come out.”
5. He’s currently working on an EDM album.
Arabian Prince: “I am working on an EDM album with some big names as we speak, some top-secret sh#t. I Love electronic music and I really respect the guys who are doing it now. Respect goes to Flying Lotus, I have met him a few times, he’s real cool. You know, some people say that gangsta rap killed electro funk, but I think it just evolved into pop and EDM. A lot of the beats we were doing back in the day are resurrecting, it’s just the artists that are different.”