Ruthless by P-SimonSchuster


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Author: Jerry Heller
Other: Gil Reavill
Table of Contents

CONTENTSAcknowledgments Cast of Characters Efil4zaggin An introduction Gangsta Gangsta Eazy-E
and me at war with Suge Knight Straight Outta Compton My early days with Eazy-E at Ruthless Records
The Dayz of Wayback My childhood in Cleveland Fuck tha Police On tour with N.W.A. Parental
Discretion Iz Advised Eazy and me at the height of success Express Yourself My life in the music biz,
the sixties to seventies Real Niggaz Don't Die The end days of Ruthless Appendix 1: "You're the Man"
Appendix 2: A Select N.W.A./Ruthless Discography

"PAYBACK'S A BITCH, JERRY."The words scrawled crudely across Jerry Heller's bedroom mirror that
afternoon meant the rap wars had suddenly escalated. In the battle of his life over the ragingly successful
music label he had helped found, Ruthless Records, Heller had seen death threats, strong-arming, and
beatings. Now the violence had come home when his enemies burglarized his house, jacked his Corvette,
and left behind this sneering piece of graffito.Heller didn't get mad; he got even. Ruthless tells the
explosive story of Jerry Heller's alliance with Eric Wright, aka Eazy-E, one of the legends of rap music
and a founding member of N.W.A., "the world's most dangerous band." As a longtime music industry
superagent, Heller had the skill and insight necessary to guide N.W.A.'s cometlike rise to the top of the
charts. Along the way there were raucous nationwide tours, out-of-control MTV pool parties, and X-rated
business meetings. Heller held on through the brutal shocks and reversals of the Ruthless Records era,
which saw the label being targeted by the FBI, and its principal artists locked in bitter conflict, until a final
turnaround placed Ruthless at the top of the heap once more. Always in the middle of the whirlwind were
Jerry and Eazy, an odd-couple pairing that represents one of the deepest and most appealing stories in
American music.You don't have to be an N.W.A. fan to love Ruthless. Heller turns the music industry
inside out, exposing its strange logic and larger-than-life personalities. Ruthless provides keen insight into
the popular music scene, with an unforgettable portrait of its rollicking excesses, life-churning drama, and
multimillion-dollar highs.

From Straight Outta ComptonIV"Lonzo brought in Run-D.M.C.," Dr. Dre told me. "I think it was their first
time in L.A., you know? And that was it. That was just it for me."In 1984, a very young Andre Young
started hanging out at Eve After Dark, bugging Alonzo Williams to let him do some cutting on the Cru. He
was fresh out of high school in Compton. Lonzo finally let him in for a simple reason."He's absolute magic
with women, man," Lonzo told me, raising an eyebrow. "Ladies fucking love him."Once in the Wreckin'
Cru, Young formed an alliance with a stocky DJ named Antoine Carraby, who used the stage monicker of
DJ Yella. Andre Young needed a handle too so he modified the nickname of one of his heroes, Julius
Erving, the legendary Dr. J of the Philadelphia 76ers, a basketball great who was among the top players
in the game at the time. Dr. J pioneered the modern, above-the-rim playing style.Dre always told me he
liked Dr. J because he was forever number one in the NBA in steals. "I thought that was cool."So Andre
Young became Dr. Dre, the official resident lady-killer of Alonzo Williams's World Class Wreckin' Cru. On
the Cru, he and Yella hung together, and when Lonzo brought Run-D.M.C. into Eve After Dark, the
lightning bolt struck them both at the same time.Conclusion number one, Dre and Yella standing there on
their own turf, in their home club, listening to the crew from Hollis, Queens: "Damn, this shit is
fresh."Conclusion number two: "We could do this shit."Conclusion number three: "Fuck the Cru. Fuck
this shit. Fuck Alonzo and his motherfucking synchronized dance moves and his corny outfits."Entirely
unintentionally, Lonzo had killed the Cru. He was the one who brought Joey Simmons, Darryl McDaniels,
and Jason Mizell (aka Run, D.M.C., and Jam Master Jay) in front of his two young protégés. In the 
summer of 1984, Run-D.M.C.'s "It's Like That" had blown away everything else that came before in rap --
the first hard-core rap song.Genius leaps. Dr. Dre didn't have to think about it. Watching Run-D.M.C. at
Eve After Dark, he had immediately grasped what he wanted to do.I wasn't there the night Hollis, Queens,
showed the way. Not my scene. But that didn't mean I wasn't just as restless as Andre Young. The Cru
was okay. And all the rest of the acts I was managing were okay. But it was as if I was listening to the
Beatles and waiting on the Rolling Stones. What I was doing back then was looking for something a
little . . . harder. And it turned out so was Andre Young.Looking for something harder. That's how I spent
my time through the winter of 1986-87. Booking Lonzo and Dr. Dre and DJ Yella and the rest of the Cru in
venues like Skateland -- a Los Angeles roller-skating emporium that doubled as a concert venue in those
days -- and trying to get my acts on the radio.Steve Yano's booth at the Roadium represented our major
local distribution outlet. The real scene in L.A. was the roving bands of DJs that played parties all over
south county and the Valley. The Wreckin' Cru and the Dream Team were prominent, but there were the
Mixmasters and Uncle Jam's Army, too.Three of the DJs from the Mixmasters got hired at KDAY, a low-
powered radio station with studios located at the top of Alvarado Street, in Echo Park. Julio G, Gregg
Mack, and Tony G started playing rap, hosting interview shows, contributing mightily to the visibility of the
West Coast rap scene...
Author Bio
Jerry Heller
Across five tumultuous decades, Jerry Heller has helped shape American popular music, breaking new
talent, developing new trends, and forging an industry-wide reputation as "the guy who gets there first."
He rose to prominence in the 1960s as a "superagent," importing Elton John and Pink Floyd for their first
major American tours, and representing Journey, Marvin Gaye, Joan Armatrading, Van Morrison, War,
Average White Band, ELO, Eric Burdon, and Crosby-Nash, among many others. In the mid-1980s, Heller
was the moving force and marketing genius behind the worldwide emergence of West Coast rap music.
He not only cofounded Ruthless Records with Eazy-E, but discovered, signed, or managed the likes of
N.W.A., The Black Eyed Peas, Above the Law, The D.O.C., and Bone Thugs-N-Harmony. Jerry Heller
lives in Calabasas, California, with his wife, Gayle, a Realtor for Sotheby's; his sister-in-law, Vicki, an
attorney; and their menagerie of animals.<br/>

Gil Reavill
Gil Reavill is a journalist, author, and screenwriter who lives in Westchester County, New York.<br/>

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