100 Miles and Runnin’ is the debut and only EP from the American gangsta rap group N.W.A since its national debut in 1988.[a] Released on August 14, 1990, this EP of five tracks reflects an evolution of N.W.A’s sound, more layered than previously, and centers on the single “100 Miles and Runnin’.
Two tracks, “100 Miles” and “Real Niggaz,” incidentally incited N.W.A’s feud with Ice Cube, who had left to start a solo rap career. “Just Don’t Bite It,” a porno track, also drew notice. Pushing lyrical boundaries in its day, the EP went gold in November 1990 and platinum in September 1992.
Whereas the EP’s track “Sa Prize, Pt. 2” is a sequel to “Fuck tha Police”—the most controversial track on N.W.A’s official debut album, Straight Outta Compton[b]—”100 Miles and Runnin’,” rather, became N.W.A’s first single to see national radio play, and its music video see national television airtime. The EP attained gold sales, over 500,000 copies sold, by November 16, 1990, and on September 16, 1992, was certified platinum, over 1 million sold.
In 1989, N.W.A member Dr. Dre, its label Ruthless Records’ prime record producer, did all tracks on Ruthless rapper The D.O.C.’s album. By May 1991, feeling underpaid, Dre left Ruthless. But still in 1989, Ice Cube, a prime rapper and ghostwriter in N.W.A, who had been paid about $32,000 so far, asked group leader Eazy-E for a meeting on money allocation. N.W.A’s manager Jerry Heller, Eazy’s business partner, led the meeting.
At Cube’s concerns, Heller offered N.W.A’s five members—Eazy, Dre, Cube, DJ Yella, and MC Ren—a contract nearly unchanged, but a $75,000 signing bonus.Only Cube refused to sign it. By 1990, he had left the group and its label. In May 1990, Cube’s debut solo album arrived as AmeriKKKa’s Most Wanted, which Spin magazine called a “masterpiece” and The Source magazine gave a full five “microphones.” N.W.A’s EP, written by Ren and The D.O.C., has two tracks smearing Cube.
Feud with Cube
In the EP’s title track, alluding to Ice Cube, Dre raps, “It started with five, but yo, one couldn’t take it / So now there’s four, ’cause the fifth couldn’t make it.” And in “Real Niggaz,” soon after Ren raps, “Only reason niggas pick up your record is ’cause they thought it was us,” Dre calls Cube both “too much cargo” and the proverbial traitor Benedict Arnold.
Hosting rap TV show Pump It Up!, Dee Barnes interviewed N.W.A, promoting the EP. Later, the show’s producers sent Barnes to get Cube’s rebuttal. Against Barnes’s warning, the November 1990 episode splices interview clips to magnify the conflict. In January, drunk at a Ruthless party in Hollywood, Dre assaulted Barnes, reputedly in payback.
Released in May 1991, N.W.A’s next album, EFil4zaggin or Niggaz4Life, furthered the feud in two more tracks: “Message to B.A.” and, in a few lines, the hit single “Alwayz into Somethin’.” Cube’s second album, Death Certificate, released in October, retorts in “No Vaseline,” depicting N.W.A as sellouts screwed by Jerry Heller. Cube thus won the battle, ending there.
The 100 Miles EP previewed N.W.A’s evolving sound, spare on Straight Outta Compton, and now more layered, as in the “100 Miles” track. This song’s idea was from a film among Eazy’s favorites, director Water Hill’s 1979 gangster film The Warriors. On the other hand, the track “Just Don’t Bite It,” says AllMusic, “is an alarming porno rap that at the time of its release was as explicit as anything out there, including 2 Live Crew.”
From the 100 Miles EP, three songs— “100 Miles and Runnin’,” “Just Don’t Bite It,” and “Real Niggaz”—would be collected on N.W.A’s Greatest Hits. “Real Niggaz” appears, too, on N.W.A’s second and final official, studio album, Efil4zaggin, the backwards spelling of Niggaz4Life. On it, “She Swallowed It” as well as “Findum, Fuckum & Flee”—ahead of dozens of other rap songs in later years—sample “Just Don’t Bite It,” as does the punk, ska band Sublime’s song “Let’s Go Get Stoned.” And arriving in 2003, a remastered edition of “Efil4zaggin” fully appends the 100 Miles EP.
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