Arabian Prince is like the Pete Best of NWA. He was in there at the embryonic stage just long enough for Dre to deactivate his Jheri curl. They bounced him when Ice Cube re-entered the lineup and went gangsta, leaving Arabian Prince (Mik Lezan) to further his much less angry electro-hop sound.
This retrospective covers his work from 1984 to 89, an era in California hip-hop when artists like Egyptian Lover and World Class Wreckin’ Cru predominantly focused on party-rocking rather than Glock-busting – maybe because, like Arabian, most of these guys were club DJs. But it’s interesting how this sound has crept back up lately, with contemporary DJs like Felix da Housecat incorporating electro-hop into the new style of “bangers.” Hopefully, this disc will get Arabian a little more due than an NWA footnote.
Innovative Life: The Anthology, 1984-1989 drops August 19 on Stones Throw.