This is an installment in The Posse Project, a 12-day series in which www.PHXmusic.com catches up with all 12 guys pictured on the cover of N.W.A's first album, N.W.A. and the Posse. Today, we continue with Krazy D — the mysterious Mexican guy in the front row.
Also Known As: Damon Trujillo, Culo Popper, Crazy D, Krazy Dee.
Before the Photo: Krazy D is from Huntington Park, a heavily Hispanic and very poor suburb southeast of LA. He was a friend of Eric "Eazy E" Wright.
"I met Eazy the same day I met Dre [at Skateland in Compton where Dre's old group the The World Class performed]. Eazy and I became real good friends" Krazy D tells me. "Bottom line, I started selling dope. I was a rapper who became a dope dealer and he was a dope dealer who became a rapper, so we just kind of blended. Eazy and I were connected on the street, and it was pretty much that way even after I left the group."
Krazy D calls himself an "original member" of N.W.A. and has a writing credit on "Panic Zone," N.W.A's first single. He is also namechecked in "8 Ball:" "Krazy D is down and in effect. We make hardcore jams, so fuck respect."
In the Photo: As the only Latino ever photographed on an Niggaz With Attitude record, Krazy D stands out. Unlike MC Ren, Krazy D says he was actually a member of the group when the photo was taken.
"The crazy part about that photo is that everybody that was there was there because they just kinda showed up, whether it was just giving someone a ride or whatever. I know MC Chip, him and Train had took Ren up there to be in the photo shoot. And Ren wasn't even in the group at the time of the photo shoot. There's this big whole thing about original members, with Ren and Yella, they came way after."
"Not to discredit them, I think Ren's an incredible talent, a dopeass MC and he had a lotta flow and he earned his part and he did what he had to do and he's a cool cat too," D says. "Yella just kinda snuck in, even Dre could tell you too. Yella was basically there because he had an extra set of hands that knew how to run the boards, that's the only reason he came in the picture, to kinda be Dre's assistant."
After the Photo: Krazy D is probably best known for his very memorable singing part in "Dopeman," where he plays the part of an overdosed junkie's angry brother, threatening Eazy E: "Yo, Mr. Dopeman, you think you're slick..."
Unlike Arabian Prince, Krazy D never sued to collect royalties.
"I wrote half of 'Eazy-Duz-It,' I wrote my little thing on 'Dopeman,' I never got credit for it... I read little things on the internet, people trying to say that was Eazy trying to sound like a Mexican, no, that was me," he says.
Even the "Dopeman" entry on Wikipedia says Eazy did the vocals himself — a statement offered without attribution, of course. After listening to Krazy D rap the part to me over the phone, I have absolutely no doubt it's him.
Actually, Wikipedia has been especially hard on Krazy D. Volunteer editors took his entry down after a brutal deletion discussion: "A cover is not a source. Even I can make such shit and make it a source. Who knows if it's not photoshopped," said one editor.
"If appearing in a music video made one notable, think of all the anonymous booty dancers who'd have articles here," said another, apparently unaware Krazy D is credited as the first writer on "Panic Zone," the first single by the most important rap group of all time.
Now: Krazy D lives in Las Vegas and does real estate appraisals for a living. He's been working on a wide variety of new music but hasn't released anything lately. He also says he's working on a documentary about his time in N.W.A called Ghetto Godz.
People Don't Know: A rap group known as Niggaz With Attitude originally had a Latino member.
Krazy D says the subject of the group's name, and his ethnicity, came up early on, and he had no problem with the name.
"People say that, 'Hey, well, you ain't no nigga' and it's like you don't understand the definition behind N.W.A. It was 'Niggaz with Attitude,' a Nigga is a homie, you know what I mean? So when we came up with that name they were like 'Yo, D, whatcha think?' and I was like 'I don't give a fuck, I'm just as much of a nigga as you motherfuckers.' And I didn't care, it is what it is," he says.
People Don't Know: That "Panic Zone," a song that Krazy D is listed as the first writer on, started out as "Hispanic Zone," he says.
"I basically wrote 'Panic Zone.' 'Panic Zone' wasn't even 'Panic Zone' when I wrote it. I wrote 'Hispanic Zone.' I was doing a song called 'Hispanic Zone' and Dre and I were talking about it and he was like 'Nobody's gonna buy a song called 'Hispanic Zone,'' this and that, and I was like, 'Yeah, well, maybe' and I thought about it and I was like, 'Yeah, that makes sense overall.'"
People Don't Know: Krazy D had a run-in with Suge Knight long before the bodyguard-turned-label boss became a legend.
Suge Knight, a former N.W.A bodyguard went on found Death Row records, where he coerced Eazy E and Jerry Heller into turning over the rights to Dr. Dre, who went on to record the critically-beloved The Chronic. Knight also supposedly dangled Vanilla Ice off a hotel balcony to get him to sign over royalties to "Ice Ice Baby." Eventually, Knight hooked up with Michel'le Toussaint, the mother of Dr. Dre's son Marcel, fathered a daughter by her and then welshed on child support payments, completing the circle of backstabbery.
Long before all that, D found himself on the outs after getting into a fight with Suge.
"Suge and I went toe-to-toe one time... It wasn't much of a fight, it was like a three-hit fight. He hit me and I think I bounced off the floor twice... because of that fight Eazy wanted me to sue him. And I was like 'Naw, fuck that.' Dre talked me out of it. He said 'You don't wanna do that.'"
People Don't Know: Just how much of N.W.A's early stuff random guys like Krazy D contributed to without getting credit or royalties.
"I got very little money from them, bro. If you add it all up it was very little, probably somewhere between $5,000 and $10,000 total. And I feel like Eazy probably thought he could get away with not giving me credit or paying with me because of my connection on the street. I made a lot of money selling dope, and, you know, I'm not proud of that, but I was doing well back then. So it is what it is."
D takes solace in the fact that he's not the only one ignored by history.
"I probably wouldn't be talking to you right now if I was the only one who got fucked over because I would have probably went on a rampage, probably smoked some motherfuckers," he says. "I believe things happen for a reason and I feel like I'm going to have some redemption moment once everything comes out, and I'll feel a lot better."
Check out the other installments in the Posse Project Here: