After the breakthrough success of N.W.A’s debut album, Straight Outta Compton, Ruthless Records and the group’s manager, Jerry Heller, presented new long-term contracts to each of the group’s five members. After pouring over the legal documents, group member Ice Cube decided that the contract was highly unfavorable and Ruthless was jerking him out of his rightful money. Cube split soon after to pursue a solo career. This set the tone for N.W.A’s follow-up EP, 100 Miles & Running, in the summer of 1990.
While only 5 songs long, 100 Miles & Runnin’ is widely considered one of rap’s greatest EPs. The EP is highlighted by the furious and unrelenting title track in an homage to the cult classic film, The Warriors, as the group can be found running from the cops on a wild crime spree across the country. The record also features the funky, grooving synths of “Just Don’t Bite It” which would set the tone for the group’s next album, Efil4Zaagin, a few years later. Three of the tracks from the EP, “Real Niggaz,” “Just Don’t Bite It” and “Kamurshol” would later appear on their next album, as well.
The record would also serve as the opening salvo in the war of words between the group and their former member, Ice Cube. The remaining group members found Cube’s departure as a tacit betrayal make numerous biting remarks regarding their former bandmate on the record, insinuating his cowardice and that his success from solo debut, Amerikkka’s Most Wanted, was solely due to the notoriety Cube gained as a member of the group.
Bitterness aside, 100 Miles & Runnin’ remains a towering achievement for N.W.A as it would mark the first time the group would receive significant airplay for their songs and videos on the radio and MTV. The album would eventually go on to achieve platinum status and become canonized as one of the greatest hip-hop EPs in rap history.