DJ Yella of N.W.A: Reporting Live in the 541 | The Source Weekly - Bend, Oregon

DJ Yella of N.W.A: Reporting Live in the 541

After 30+ years, an OG music reporter of the early '90s performs on the Silver Moon stage

Antione "DJ Yella" Carraby is not only one of the original riders of the west-coast hip-hop and gangsta rap wave, he is also a published author, key innovator and pioneer of the record-scratching technique. Oh, and what caught all y'alls' eyes: He's also founding member of the breakthrough rap sextet from Compton, California, the one and only N.W.A. So mark your calendars for a hip-hop-history kick-off into Black History Month, with DJ Yella himself at Silver Moon Brewing Feb. 4.

click to enlarge DJ Yella of N.W.A: Reporting Live in the 541
Courtesy DJ Yella
Antoine “DJ Yella” Carraby visits Bend in early February, with a film screening of “Straight Outta Compton” and a show at Silver Moon

I recently had the privilege of chatting with Yella about his life — life before and after the release of the 2015 documentary film, "Straight Outta Compton ," in addition to his journey before and after the release of his autobiography, "Straight Outta Compton: My Untold Story " — which spans from the time he was five years old all the way to pre-pandemic. And within the ebbs and flows of his former group members — legends like Dr. Dre, MC Ren, Arabian Prince, Eazy-E, and Ice Cube, Yella continues to preach the evolutionary success of N.W.A to this day.

"Before World Class Wreckin' Cru and N.W.A, I was a DJ in the club," DJ Yella told me. "Then once Dre came along, we were both DJs at the club, and once we started producing music, that was it for DJing — we didn't DJ again." In fact, the only time the two of them went onstage together again was at Coachella in 2016, where the first and last N.W.A "reunion" took place in front of a live audience.

Now Yella travels all over the world. "If you get an old globe, spin it and put your finger on it. I've just about been there. Even within the last three years," he said, traveling to Ireland, Austria, Korea, Sri Lanka and Dubai, just to name a few. In March, he's headed back for a European tour. Here's an excerpt from our chat ahead of his appearances in Bend.

click to enlarge DJ Yella of N.W.A: Reporting Live in the 541
Courtesy DJ Yella Instagram
Eazy-E and Yella in earlier days..

Source Weekly: Have you ever been to Bend?

Yella: It's my first time to Bend but I like the small-town vibe. Because it's intimate. People are closer. Not like a festival. I've been to Portland for HEMPFEST though. Portland is hype!

SW: How have the crowds changed since N.W.A days?

Yella: The crowd is instant now. We sold more records now than 30 years ago. And because of the movie and social media the crowd is younger. It's like they've been listening to N.W.A for 20 years. And they nuthin' but 18 years old!

SW: Do you have any new perspectives on the film's impact since its release in 2015?

Yella: The movie re-started us again. It touched new generations, harder generations to reach. We made the music with our hearts. We didn't change to the times. We didn't change for the radio. No airplay. Video was banned. MTV was banned. This is what sparked it. We did something different and we didn't even know it.

SW: How did your book influence this new chapter in your career?

Yella: It's amazing that I wrote it because I never even read! Never thought about it or wanted to. It was amazing that I could remember that stuff. The details! From five years old to 2020. Before the group, before all that, the breakup, everything. It came to me in late 2019, before the pandemic. People say it's a good read. But I've never read a book so I can't say anything.

SW: You should teach a class on N.W.A 101.

Yella: First thing I'd do, I'd say get a lawyer!

Film Screening of "Straight Outta Compton" with BendFilm
Silver Moon Brewing
Wed., Feb. 1, Doors 6pm, Screening 7pm
Donations can be made to The Father's Group and BendFilm.

DJ Yella of N.W.A. Live
Silver Moon Brewing
Sat., Feb. 4. 7pm

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